By ANTHONY NOTO
October 13, 2016
New legislation has been put in place to make sure N.Y.C.’s taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers have access to a slate of benefits that were not available to them before, including health care, disability and life insurance.
The move comes as yet another blow to Uber and other on-demand car services, underscoring a change in attitude toward their classifying drivers as independent contractors.
New York City council members Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin and Helen Rosenthal introduced the legislation today. It would direct the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to establish a “drivers benefit fund.” Covered under this legislation are drivers of yellow and green taxi cabs, livery cabs and Uber and Lyft vehicles, among others.
The bill, according to a statement, is “one of the concrete steps that New York City legislators are proposing to modernize labor protections.” It comes on the heels of a New York State ruling giving Uber drivers jobless benefits— something observers say could have a nationwide impact.
In order to fund the program, the TLC would establish a 10-cent surcharge added to all fares, and conduct a study assessing the feasibility and cost of providing certain benefits.
“Driving a cab or for-hire vehicle in New York City is defined by long hours and stressful conditions,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, chair of the committee on health. “These drivers deserve the same standard of fairness and dignity that we expect for New Yorkers across our economy.”