Roughly 80,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City are expected to get a pay raise next year. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on Tuesday voted to secure a minimum wage for drivers with ride-hailing companies, including Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno, making New York the first city in the world to do so. Going into effect in 30 days, the new rule mandates a minimum wage of $17.22 per hour, after expenses. That hourly rate is equivalent to the city’s employee minimum wage of $15 per hour, which will be set at the end of this year.
Just in time for the L train shutdown, the city is getting more bike-friendly. Lyft, the car-sharing company that bought the Citi Bike‘s operator Motivate, will invest $100 million to dramatically expand the program, according to an announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio. The fleet of Citi Bikes will triple from 12,000 now to 40,000 over the next five years and cover an area more than twice its current size. The investment will also add more electric bikes, which Citi Bike began to roll out in the summer, boost the $5 discount membership program for NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients, and help repair existing bikes and infrastructure.
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Photo via Citi Bike
Just over 61 percent of Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, and according to a Harvard poll, 14 percent of those who didn’t turn out cited a lack of transportation as the reason. In response, public transportation agencies, car services, and bike/scooter shares in cities throughout the nation will offer free and discounted rides tomorrow for the midtern elections to those traveling to vote. Here in NYC, Citi Bike is offering free rides (as well as in Jersey City), Uber is giving $10 off in addition to adding a poll locater button in its app, and Lyft is giving half off rides, as well as code for free rides to underserved communities.
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Via joiseyshowaa on Flickr
The New York City Council approved on Wednesday a package of legislation to regulate for-hire vehicles, like Uber and Lyft, making New York the first major city to cap new licenses. The legislation will stop issuing licenses to for-hire vehicles for one year, as the city studies the growing industry. And a minimum wage, which could start at $17.22 an hour, will be established for app-based drivers, which no city has done before.
In May, 6sqft reported that outer-borough neighborhoods underserved by Citi Bike would get dockless bike-share programs this summer. On Tuesday, the city’s pilot officially kicked off in the Rockaways, the area around Fordham University in the Bronx, and the North Shore of Staten Island, and to make things more exciting, the city is also offering electric bikes (h/t NY Times). The Uber-owned Jump Bikes is providing dockless electric bikes that can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour with little user effort. The bikes will cost only a dollar or two and can be reserved and paid for in the Uber app.
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Traffic in NYC, photo via joiseyshowaa on Flickr
As New York City’s failure-prone subway system continues to disappoint, some commuters are turning to ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft to reach their destinations instead. While getting picked up by a car is easy, especially in the busiest areas of Manhattan, the bumper-to-bumper traffic makes getting anywhere actually more difficult. A report released by Bruce Schaller, a former deputy city transportation commissioner, found that one-third of ride-hailing cars and yellow cabs are often driving on the city’s most congested blocks without any passengers, creating unnecessary traffic (h/t New York Times). As a way to reduce car congestion, officials are considering a new fee on for-hire vehicles, possibly a way to raise money for the strapped-for-cash MTA.
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Image by Grant Wickens via flick CC
As far back as 2015, 6sqft reported that the Port Authority was considering fees for vehicles pulling up curbside to drop off or pick up passengers at New York City’s airports as a way to reduce the congestion that has worsened since services like Uber and Lyft have arrived. The city’s airports are among the only ones in the U.S. that don’t charge curbside access fees. Now the Daily News has obtained a Port Authority draft proposal outlining the proposed fees. Taxi and hired car passengers could be hit with a $4 charge for each trip in and out of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports as early as next year. The fee would be charged to the car operators and would presumably be passed to passengers
The idea is not getting a warm reception
6sqft recently shared analysis that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles could replace the city’s fleet of 13,587 taxis. And while this was more a comment on how carpooling can decrease congestion and emissions, it also points to a changing landscape for yellow cabs. In a piece this weekend, the Times looks at how taxis have fallen out of favor with New Yorkers since apps like Uber and Lyft came onto the scene; these vehicles now number more than 60,000. In 2010, for example, yellow cabs made an average of 463,701 trips, 27 percent more than the 336,737 trips this past November, which also resulted in a drop in fares from $5.17 million to $4.98 million. And just since 2014, the cost of a cab medallion was cut in less than half of its former $1.3 million price tag.
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If the city is looking to cut down on emissions and reduce traffic, here is some food for thought courtesy of folks over at MIT. Researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have determined that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles have the potential to do the same amount of work as NYC’s fleet of roughly 14,000 taxis—that is if New Yorkers are willing to use rideshare carpooling like Lyft Line and Uber POOL.
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- A New Look at Liberty Island: On Wednesday, the New York Times followed a Google team as they documented the island with their 40-pound Google Trekker. You can see fun photos of the jaunt on their site.
- A Bronx Renaissance: Untapped Cities highlights the five most important projects in the pipeline for NYC’s northernmost borough.
- Celebs Love the Lowline: James Ramsey and Dan Barasch are getting more support to turn the abandoned trolly station below Delancey Street into an underground park. According to the Lo-Down, Lena Dunham and Spike Jonze have just signed on to host the Low Line’s annual “anti-gala” in October.
- Lyft Launches Tonight in New York: After hitting more than a few speed bumps in the road, regulators are giving Lyft the green light, but not without concessions. The Verge has more on the deal struck.
A Google Maps trekker, image © Michael Appleton/NYT (left); A branded Lyft vehicle (right)