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UBER AND LYFT ALIVE AND WELL BUT YELLOWS ON LIFE SUPPORT…WHY?

You should know that the NY Post reported today that “NYC’s cabbie workforce down 75 percent amid COVID-19 but Uber and Lyft on Upswing.” 7-29-2020 The sort went on to report that “June saw 251,696 trips per day for “high volume for hire services” …according to the TLC.

You should also know my dear readers that the term “high volume FHV” was enacted into Law by my legislation in 2018, which created this new category. While I was Chair of the FHV Committee, the first public hearing focused upon driver suicides and the market domination of the industry by Uber and Lyft. The result was legislation which I wrote in order to level the playing field.

While all others in the industry, Black, Green, Yellow, Livery were being regulated by hundreds of rules and paying thousands of dollars in fees to the TLC, Uber and its counterparts were operating without spending a dime, and without any rules. The bill I wrote required the TLC to regulate any for-hire car service which dispatched more than 10,000 vehicles daily, ( High Volume FHV) in several ways including the payment of a fee for each license in the amount of $380,000.00 It was demonstrated by the hearings that in this manner those who were already operating and playing by the rules and paying NYC for the privilege, ( yellow, green, black, livery) could better compete with the newly iPhone dispatched rides, subsidized at ridiculously low rates. Not only were these $5 rides taking from the other car services and taxis but from the subway and busses as well.

My bill was signed into law 8-14-18 by Mayor Bill de Blasio and is known as Local Law 149. The TLC was requited to issued regulations within 90 days, but the TLC took almost twice this amount of time. As the NY POST article stated, “according to the TLC …” high volume for hire services” saw a jump in daily riders while all others were depleted since February 2019. The Uber drivers were also “earning more than their taxi counterparts” during this period, $1,160 weekly for Uber and $262.00 for others.

I was amazed, dear Readers. My bill local law 149 was duly enacted, and then the TLC promulgated the regulations, almost two years ago. Why did my bill fail to achieve a level playing field? The answer is shocking. Although the TLC keeps track of the daily data of rides and driver income for “high volume FHV,” it seems that none of the “high volume” FHV such as Uber or Lyft has ever filled out a proper application or paid any fees to the TLC. None. Zero. The TLC is collecting data but not any money from these high-volume operators, and they are not regulating or issuing tickets to them either. The Law, known as Local Law 149, is simply being ignored by the TLC and has been for two years. No wonder the Uber drivers are making five times what the others are making. No wonder Uber is grabbing the 75% percent of ridership the others lost. Most shocking, the application which the law requires all high volume FHV to fill out was only posted online with the TLC in June last month.

Someone should investigate this. It is troubling to think that somehow this has been done with the intention to help Uber and LIft and not the Yellow and the rest the industry.

This is Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz, and this is what you should know.

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