What Does the New York TLC License Cap Extension Mean to Drivers?
On June 12th , New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan by the TLC that will extend the cap on FHV licenses begun last year and create a second cap on how long FHV companies can let their vehicles cruise empty without passengers below Manhattan’s 96th Street. TLC says that the caps are expected to cut congestion and increase speeds in the evening rush hour by up to 10%. The current cap on issuance of new FHV licenses restricts growth in the number of taxis operating in New York, but not FHV drivers. It was set to expire in August 2019. The new extension continues this restriction into the future, without a set expiry period.
The new cruising rule, which will hit high volume FHV bases like Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via, will reduce the amount of time vehicles operating on their platforms can cruise empty in the Manhattan core. Currently, FHV can cruise without a passenger for 41% of their on-shift time. This is set to go down in two steps to 31% by August 2020. The change is intended to reduce the number of empty taxis that clog up the streets and increase driver business, hence giving them more pay.
Supporters of the moves have lauded the new rules as being beneficial to riders, drivers, the city and the environment. However, at street level, where drivers are in the frontline, it seems that the rules are being viewed rather differently. Whilst some drivers are reporting increased business in the 10% range, some are also complaining that the cap has done nothing to slow congestion and is simply reducing their options to earn an income.
1.Cap Drivers, Not Cars
Drivers, led by the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG – an association for FHV drivers with over 80,000 members), are calling for a cap on drivers, not on cars. Their reasoning for this is that simply capping the number of cars does not stop them operating 24/7 and with multiple drivers. It does not take them off the street when one driver logs out, as a new driver simply logs in with the same car. A driver cap would mean that a vehicle driven home at the end of a shift stays home and it does not go out again with a new driver at the wheel. This would effectively ration FHV on the streets and increase business for the drivers who are working.
This stems from the same issue above. With the current cap, new drivers can still gain an FHV license, but they are unable to license a vehicle. Their solution is to rent one from the licensed rental fleets. With multiple drivers using the pool of rental cars, the number of FHV seeking riders in Manhattan does not go down. Instead, those drivers using the rental cars pay high costs to work and the drivers they compete against see no rise in passenger business.
3. No Real Benefit
Drivers say the cap has not had any real benefit. Their incomes have not gone up, the number of riders has not been affected, the congestion is the same as it was a year ago. Some drivers are saying that the cap has negatively impacted their income, as many more taxis are now on the road 24/7.
What Do You Think?
How has the FHV cap affected you? INSHUR wants to know what you think about the new cap extensions and what it means for your business. Join the conversation on Facebook – Click below.
LINKS and SOURCES
NY Cap: https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/301-19/mayor-de-blasio-extending-fhv-caps-protect-hardworking-drivers-increase-their-pay-#/0
Black Car News: https://www.blackcarnews.com/article/its-time-to-re-examine-the-fhv-license-cap
Uber People: https://uberpeople.net/threads/hopefully-they-keep-that-cap-for-5-more-years.334423/