What next after the Electric Vehicle License U-turn?

The TLC’s recent decision to stop issuing new for-hire licenses for electric vehicles has come as a bit of a surprise, given New York City’s green pledges and environmentally-friendly commitments. So what does TLC’s change of direction mean for drivers and the wider industry?

To help understand the implications of the TLC vote, we’ve put together a brief rundown of what we know about the decision so far, the changes you need to know about and what they mean in practice if you already have a TLC license. There’s also some extra info on what to do if you are hoping to get one. 

First, let’s look at how we got here. 

Please note: The following is correct at the time of writing this article on July 6, 2021.

The background to the vote

It was back in August 2018 that New York City Council first voted to cap the number of new for-hire licenses issued by the TLC. Wheelchair accessible vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) were excluded from the cap. 

The restrictions around new licenses were originally meant to be temporary while a study was carried out looking into the impact of for-hire vehicles on the city’s traffic. 

The cap was then extended in August 2019, and a new ‘cruising cap’ was added to try and limit the amount of time drivers are working but not earning, that is, on the road but without passengers. 

At the time, some of the reasons given for the cap were to combat congestion in the city and tackle climate change. 

While the regulations are reviewed every six months, since 2019 the cap has been extended each year. The next review is due to take place in August 2021 (more on that later).

What’s changed?

Last month, the TLC voted to stop issuing new licenses for EVs, with a five-to-one vote in favor of the move. The vote seems to be at odds with previous claims around New York City’s role to support the environment.

Some would argue offering new for-hire licenses for EVs was a loophole in the rules, and there was always a risk it would be closed.

The TLC says it will continue to work towards “the future of all-electricity”, and will include EVs as part of its regular reviews into whether extra vehicles are needed.

How does this affect you?

The good news is if you already have a TLC license, you can carry on as before. As a result of the vote, there should be less competition for fares, which hopefully should mean the same if not more in earnings for you. 

And if you already drive an EV, the benefits of going electric remain the same. We’ve written about some of these benefits here, including lower maintenance costs, the extra earnings available through various Uber initiatives, and the range of EVs available. The only thing that’s changed is EVs are no longer a way to get a new TLC license. 

It is also possible to transfer an existing license from a gas vehicle to an EV if you need to.

If you were still hoping to get a TLC license, never fear. Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) still qualify for new licenses – if you want to find out more, here’s what you need to know about WAVs

For those looking to get into rideshare, you can find out all the vehicle requirements, a list of the documents you need and the costs from the TLC. Find out more and apply here.

Looking ahead, the next regular review of the cap and for-hire rules is due in August 2021. 

The expectation is the cap on the number of rideshare vehicles is here to stay, but it’s always worth familiarizing yourself and staying up-to-date with the latest requirements for new licenses. If the situation on the cap changes we’ll let you know, but in the meantime if you’ve got a TLC license, EV or not, it’s a good time to make the most of it. 

At INSHUR, we always want to help our drivers by making sure they’ve got the right coverage. For more on how we can help and to get a TLC insurance quote in minutes, check out INSHUR now.

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2021/06/22/nyc-bans-new-electric-taxi-licenses/

https://californianewstimes.com/new-york-city-votes-to-block-new-licenses-for-electric-taxis-snubbing-revels-tesla-plans/409869/

https://inshur.com/blog/the-benefits-of-driving-an-electric-vehicle-for-tlc-drivers/

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/tlc/vehicles/get-a-for-hire-vehicle-license.page

https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/384-19/mayor-de-blasio-puts-effect-for-hire-vehicle-cruising-cap-extends-license-cap

https://ny.curbed.com/2018/8/8/17664102/new-york-uber-lyft-for-hire-vehicles-regulation

https://ny.curbed.com/2019/8/7/20758915/uber-lyft-for-hire-vehicles-cap-new-york-city

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/tlc/downloads/pdf/proposed_rules_hvfhs_cruising_08_07.pdf

https://ny.curbed.com/2018/8/7/17660536/uber-lyft-nyc-transportation-regulation-city-council