INSHUR Driver Survey reveals concerns about Manhattan Congestion Surcharge

As a digital insurance business, serving professional and rideshare drivers in New York, we care about the changes being made in the city.  So we asked for opinions about what you think about the latest phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s congestion plan.  Cuomo has suggested that his new measures, which will affect both ride-hailing services and taxis, “should raise $415 million that would go to fund the MTA” every year.

Uber, Lyft and similar services will have to pay a $2.75 surcharge on journeys south of 96th Street in Manhattan, while the city’s iconic yellow cabs operating in the same zone will be charged slightly less at $2.50. The funds raised from both surcharges will be used to finance the subway action plan.

The idea is not new as various toll systems for New York City have been proposed since the 70’s. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan in 2008 was the most recent notable high profile failure.  However, there is an existing NYC 50 cent surcharge on cab rides which raises funds for the transportation authority, although Cuomo’s new system will see ride-hailing services also liable to pay this type of fee for the first time.

The new research we carried out asked questions ranging from the likely impact on road congestion through to what effect the implementation of the surcharge will have on drivers’ incomes.  While one of the major reasons cited to introduce the new fees is to combat traffic congestion, only 11% of those who took part in our survey thought the charges would make a difference.

When it came to the impact on trade, 61% of our drivers questioned felt that they would see a drop in both fares and income, 22% thought only income would be affected, and 16% believed that there would be no change at all.

Our study asked about the difference in fees for rideshare and yellow cabs, and the response saw a clear two-thirds majority stating that it was unfair to charge one set of drivers more than the other.  Although the new charges will only affect those drivers who work in lower Manhattan, our research found that more than 27% of respondents spent between three quarters and all of their time working in the area.

We also asked professional drivers what changes could be made to keep the city moving and respondents cited some common themes, including tackling the number of truck deliveries as well as the negative impact the construction industry has on traffic flow.  The problems the new charges set out to address involve the way for-hire and ride-hailing vehicles contribute to congestion, especially as the recent explosion in-app services has transformed the way that the public travel around the city.  The New York Times recently reported that traffic in Midtown Manhattan now travels at an average of 4.7 miles per hour, a drop from 6.5 miles per hour five years ago, and around 103,000 for-hire vehicles are operating in the city according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

****Notes and refs:

Extra info from The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/26/nyregion/uber-car-congestion-pricing-nyc.html

Survey data findings summaries:

What effect will this surcharge have on your income as a professional driver? (61% same / less 22% / no change 16%)

Will the surcharge make any difference to congestion? (NO 89% /  YES 11%)


Is the difference in charge for rideshare Vs. Yellow cab fair? (NO 66% / YES 33%)

How much time do you spend in lower Manhattan? (in %)