NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of drivers are protesting proposed legislation requiring people who drive for Uber, Lyft and other app-based services pay a $2,000 annual licensing fee.
The bill is proposed by Bronx councilman Ruben Diaz Sr.
“This bill is gonna kill us because most drivers are on the brinks of poverty right now,” said driver Aziz Bah.
“Income is down for everybody, licensees like me, we’re getting half of what we’re getting three (or) four years ago,” noted Carolyn Protz, a medallion taxi cab owner.
Another bill being considered would require half of for-hire cars to be wheelchair accessible by 2025.
“Kill the bill,” said Bah. “We don’t want none of it. The bill’s gotta go.”
The new bills being proposed come after worries about the city’s increasing traffic congestion, and the difficulty yellow cab and for-hire drivers are facing in making a living.
One of the bills being introduced would require app-based drivers to only work for one company at a time which the drivers worry could mean longer hours on the road.
“Their hours currently average over 11 and a half hours per shift, so we’re talking over 12 hours per day,” said Moira Muntz, spokesperson for the Independent Drivers Guild. “Longer hours could be harder on families, it’s going to be more dangerous for everyone on the streets because it’s going to mean more fatigued driving.””
The bills could potentially lead to more congestion, not less, which some cab owners say is the crux of the problem to begin with. and not just a problem for the environment:
“You can’t just throw cars out there on the street, it’s not in the interest of the drivers,” said Protz. “That’s the worst thing that could happen to them, to have unlimited cars on the road and also for people who live here.””
CBS2 reached out to the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration for comment on the proposed bills, but haven’t heard back.