Uber and Lyft fare increases put a strain on the wallets of riders

Jessica Xu | The Ticker

Jessica Xu | The Ticker

Uber and Lyft rates are increasing around New York City due to NYC driver minimum wage laws passed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission as of Feb. 1.

Keeping with new laws passed by the New York City Council, minimum wage is now at $27.86 for drivers before expenses, which equals $17.22 after expenses and is on par with the $15 minimum wage for employees.

In total, drivers are expected to earn an additional $9,600 per
year.

“Today we brought desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild in an article published in The Washington Post.

“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America.”

The increase in salary came after a yearlong campaign by the app-based drivers to get an increase in wages. The drivers accused the company of making it difficult for them to survive on their salaries.

They could not care for their family because of the low wages and incentives that they received. According to a Taxi & Limousine Commission survey, drivers were paid on average $11.90 per hour. In addition, it costs a driver $425 a week out of pocket to maintain their vehicle, and as independent contractors, the drivers receive no benefits or paid time off.

An increase in salary also means an increase in fares. Now when a trip leaves New York, an “Out of Town Surcharge” will be added. This surcharge will compensate drivers for their return trips if they start in New York City and end up outside the five boroughs. Also, additional fares will be added to ride-sharing.

Uber’s director of public affairs, Jason Post, said that the company wants rides to remain affordable. According to a statement by Uber, the company “fully support the spirit of this rule, because it aligns with one of our core missions: to connect drivers to the best earnings opportunities. However, we also want to do right by our riders and are working hard to ensure that your ride remains as affordable as possible.”

Students around Baruch College may have to pay an additional $2.75 per ride with the new congestion tax, as well as an additional 75 cents for carpooling.

This new industry that prides itself on being cost effective will now have to pass the cost onto its passengers with no additional benefits to them.