Taxi drivers

New York taxi drivers hated Uber. Now they will help him

Uber has been under particular pressure in New York, as the city has since 2018 capped the number of transit vehicles allowed on its roads. In January, there were just over 96,000 vehicle licenses granted in the city, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, although 30,000 of them went unused that month. This new partnership will allow Uber to offer more rides without adding more cars to the road.

The move also has a practical benefit for the once-fractious company: It could endear Uber to the very regulators it was at odds with. From almost the beginning, Uber dodged government taxi rules by insisting it was a technology platform, not a taxi company. Relations deteriorated in 2017, when The New York Times reported that the company had used special software to evade government surveillance. But now, when it comes to partnerships between well-established local taxis and VTCs, regulators “want to make this philosophy work,” says Daus, the former taxi commissioner. More partnerships between taxi companies and carriers will benefit customers, he says, as it will allow people to access more rides, more easily.

Uber has partnerships with taxi companies in other places around the world, such as Spain, Colombia, Germany, Austria and Hong Kong, where it acquired a taxi app last year.

The deal will need to be approved by the city’s Taxi and Limo Commission. In a statement, Acting Commissioner Ryan Wanttaja said: “We are always interested in innovative tools that can expand economic opportunities for taxi drivers.”

Putting taxis on the Uber app could be good news for wheelchair users. There are less than 4,000 wheelchair accessible wheelchair transport vehicles on the city’s roads, and runners complained they have to wait twice as long to catch a wheelchair-accessible ride as those who don’t. Although the city is behind on its court-mandated target To make half of its yellow cabs wheelchair accessible, adding taxis to the Uber app could double the number of cars available with just a few phone calls.

New York drivers, meanwhile, are still figuring out what the partnership will mean for them. The New York Taxi Worker Alliance, which represents 21,000 drivers in the city, says taxi drivers will earn an average of 15% less per ride taking rides on the Uber app than they would on the traditional fare. at the counter.

Uber says when taxis start appearing on its app this spring, driver earnings will be based on rules set by the city, but it didn’t respond to questions about what might happen in the future. “If Uber and Curb think they can slip into a payment structure that’s broken for Uber drivers and piece it together on the backs of yellow cab drivers, they’re in for a sobering surprise,” said said the group’s chief executive, Bhairavi Desai. in a report.

Taxi drivers who spoke to Time Last week said the new deal could help them take more trips. Accepting UberX rides could make taxi drivers’ trips to the heart of the city more profitable, as app users are more likely to request rides outside of Manhattan. But others were skeptical of Uber because of the role the company has played in upending the industry over the past decade. Unlike other Uber drivers in town, taxi drivers will be able to see where and how much a ride is worth before accepting the ride, and won’t be penalized if they decline them before the ride begins. Taxi drivers will also be able to opt out of Uber calls entirely, said Tamam, CEO of Curb Mobility.

An app-based group of workers in the city had a slightly different message. “Whether we started driving for Uber five years ago or five minutes ago, what app drivers have in common is that we’re underpaid and underprotected by the insurance companies. apps in their relentless quest for profit,” said Emma Woods, spokesperson for Justice for App Workers, which represents 100,000 drivers and delivery workers across the city. “We fight for all enforcement workers and invite yellow cab drivers to join our movement.”

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