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NYC Passes Minimum Wage for Uber and Lyft Drivers: Should Your State?

Should your state pass a similar minimum wage requirement for ride-hailing companies? Why or why not?

by Countable | 12.7.18

This week, New York City passed a minimum wage requirement for drivers who work for ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft.

Starting in the new year, ride-hailing companies will have to pay drivers around $17.22 per hour (after expenses) — about $5 more per hour than the current average of $11.90 per hour.

Background

In New York City, more than 80,000 people earn their living by driving for app-based companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via. In the past several years, these companies, which control around 75 percent of the ride-hailing marketplace, have both benefited from and driven a boom in demand for rides, fueled by subway system failings and the booming availability of car service.

The drivers’ earnings have not kept pace: In fact, they’ve declined. This is partly because they’re not legally full-time employees; rather, they’re independent contractors, and thus aren’t covered by existing minimum wage laws.

More than half of New York City drivers are on a full-time basis, and about half of all drivers are supporting families with children on that income, according to recent research. Their earnings are so low that 40 percent of drivers qualify for Medicaid, and about 18 percent qualify for food stamps.

Reactions

The companies aren’t thrilled about this.

An Uber spokesperson sent the following statement to Vox, adding that the pay rate doesn’t take into account bonuses and other incentives paid to drivers:

“The [Taxi & Limousine Commission’s] implementation of the City Council’s legislation to increase driver earnings will lead to higher than necessary fare increases for riders while missing an opportunity to deal with congestion in Manhattan’s central business district.”

What do you think?

Should your state pass a similar minimum wage requirement? Why or why not? Tell your reps what you think, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / lovro77

Countable

Written by Countable

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(133)
  • Tim
    Voted No
    last Friday
    ···

    If drivers make a guaranteed minimum wage of over $17 it will just increase the cost to consumers that use ride-share services. The fact the taxi cab companies initiated this in New York (where they banned large soft drinks) tells you all you need to know. In other words, it’s about protecting the cab companies, not ride-share drivers. This will do nothing to help ride-share drivers or benefit the ride-share industry that millions now rely on for reasonably priced transportation.

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  • KansasTamale
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    Not just for Drivers. Every person working must have a living wage. In 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60. That equates to $10.74 according to that wage 🆚 cost of living. A new house cost $25,600. Median income was $7,743.00. Gas 34¢ a gal. Eggs 53¢ a dozen. Gal of milk $1.10 NOW. COMPARE THAT TO WHAT THINGS COST TODAY. 2013. Minimum wage was $7.25 which = $7.25. Gas averaged $3.40 a gallon. House median size = $269,000. Eggs = 89¢ and a gal of milk $3.98 a gal. Now what people have to live on today is NOT A LIVING WAGE FOR ANYONE.

    Like (15)
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  • Johnny
    last Friday
    ···

    Hell yes, Uber and Lyft need to be accountable for taking care of their employees!! Fight for $15! Allowing these corporations to bypass state minimum wage laws is immoral, unfair to: cab drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers and cab companies, and only helps those who use these services and, of course, filthy rich Uber and Lyft Executives! What we really need is better (electric) public transportation!

    Like (9)
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  • David
    Voted Maybe
    last Saturday
    ···

    If they’re employees they need a minimum wage or better. In the world I grew up in independent contractors were not guaranteed anything beyond a basic income that covered minimal expenses. Income beyond this was yours but also had to be documented to the contracting company for tax purposes. You were responsible for your own taxes but your records had to match theirs. Being an independent contractor was in many ways like owning your own business.

    Like (4)
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  • John
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    There should be a guaranteed, livable minimum wage for every worker. And universal single payer healthcare, cradle to grave.

    Like (10)
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  • Alexi
    Voted No
    last Friday
    ···

    To start with, raising minimum wage is a terrible idea, once wages are raised, prices go up. Because companies must now charge more for the same services because they are forced to pay more. So this gets us nowhere. The bottom line here is minimum wage jobs were never meant to sustain a family, or more than one person - these are starter jobs.

    Like (7)
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  • Virginia
    Voted Maybe
    last Friday
    ···

    Maybe NYC will have a greater pick up ratio!

    Like (2)
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  • Lauralee
    last Sunday
    ···

    People should leave with in means & work to better them self. Next they will tax your kids for there lemon stands🤔O wait that already happened in Arizona. Greedy democratic want to live off others hard work & tax you for everything so they can make you pay for there new beach houses

    Like (1)
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  • SneakyPete
    Voted No
    last Sunday
    ···

    😔 FIRST THEY RAISE THE WAGES LEVEL & THEN THEY HAVE TO CUT THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES.🤔🙀 SneakyPete..... 🙀😢😢🙀. 12*8*18

    Like (6)
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  • mb2018
    Voted No
    last Friday
    ···

    Driving for a ride share company is contract work not an employee/employer relationship. Why complicate things by regulating. If these drivers want a guaranteed wage then they should seek that, but instead they signed up to be “their own boss and work and earn when and how much they want”.

    Like (5)
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  • ColonelMoose
    Voted No
    last Friday
    ···

    Government needs to keep their noses out of business competition. Our nation was built on a free market and government regulations just eliminate the possibility. The minimum wage isn’t free. That cost is passed on to the consumer. Stupid people supporting stupid regulations lead to the rising costs of services. Those sane stupid people then complain about the rising costs and blame it on the economy. Let’s stop letting voters who don’t take elections seriously send stupid people to public office.

    Like (5)
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  • ConservativeGuy
    Voted No
    last Saturday
    ···

    The taxi lobbyists are trying to put these companies out of business. Don’t let them fool you.

    Like (5)
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  • Stickyfingers
    Voted No
    last Saturday
    ···

    It’s about capitalism and keeping the prices low. Now Uber/Lift will be more expensive to ride

    Like (4)
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  • John
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    There should be a guaranteed, livable minimum wage for every worker. And universal single payer healthcare, cradle to grave.

    Like (4)
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  • Robert j.
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    After all rides were a factor in ending taxi monopolies. Time to pay.

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  • Stu
    Voted No
    last Friday
    ···

    Government should protect life, liberty, and property. This is the government (who can’t manage money, period) telling private businesses how to operate. That doesn’t fit into the above three categories of government responsibilities. This won’t fix anything. When all businesses demand higher wages, and the government demands they do so at gunpoint, it will feel great having more money in your pocket...until you have to buy your next good or service.

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  • CharlieCEO
    Voted Yes
    last Monday
    ···

    We should definately increase the minimum wages of these ride hailing companies. Right now, you make less than minimum wage if you factor in insurance, gas, maintenance, and plus youre an independent contractor so taxes as well are factored in leading us to make less than $9/hour. I currently work for Lyft and Uber and it's very frustrating

    Like (4)
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  • Lesia
    Voted Yes
    last Saturday
    ···

    People work so they can live. In keeping with basic human decency they should be allowed a living wage.

    Like (3)
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  • MoonRiver
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    Yes, wages in this “gig” capitalist only society have replaced human beings & the human factor. People have to earn a living wage & not have to go bankrupt if a small financial crisis hits. You used to be able to save for a rainy day prior to the 2008 financial crisis, but now much fewer people can do that. Our representatives need to get their head out of their collective butts. Until they do that most people have to work ridiculous hours & jobs which is not a life that can be sustained forever for everyone.

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  • What.About.Ethics
    Voted No
    last Sunday
    ···

    This is not capitalism. Cab companies and limo services in NY have been fighting against Uber since the beginning of their existence. They are not implementing a minimum wage to help Uber drivers, it is all about these other companies' inability to compete. They do not want you in a nice, owner operated vehicle with a rating system that helps weed out bad drivers. They want your only option to be smelly, disgusting cabs and their rude and often unprofessional drivers. Ultimately, this will simply accelerate the push toward driverless vehicles even more.

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  • Sean
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

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  • ceceicee
    Voted Yes
    last Friday
    ···

    Absolutely, it is ridiculous to think that anyone living in the United States of America is working for less than the minimum wage. Ridiculous, deplorable nd exploitative to put it mildly!!!

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