'This Is About Respect': NYC to Raise Minimum Pay for Uber and Lyft Drivers, But Pushback Is Expected The rideshare companies say state regulations will make services more expensive for customers and limit competition.

By Amanda Breen

Nearly two years into the pandemic, one group of essential workers is finally about to receive a pay bump in New York City. Last week, Mayor Eric Adams announced a 5.3% raise for drivers of high-volume, for-hire vehicle services — including those who work for Uber and Lyft.

The order from the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which goes into effect on March 1 and impacts an estimated 90,000 drivers, will increase the minimum driver pay rates to $1.161 per mile and $0.529 per minute. New York became the first city in the country to implement a minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers in 2018; ride-hailing companies were required to begin paying drivers approximately $17.22 per hour after expenses — about $5 per hour more than they'd received previously.

In a statement posted to the the city's official website, Mayor Adams acknowledged that the city's drivers have put themselves at risk to provide an essential service during the pandemic and deserve to be compensated accordingly. "Drivers have served on the frontlines and have been there for their neighbors — driving them around the city and delivering food to those in need. This is about respect and paying each one of these individuals a fair and decent wage."

Related: How Entrepreneurs Have Honored Pandemic Heroes and How You Can Too

Over the past several years, New York City ride-hail drivers have fought for the right to unionize, which would enable them to bargain for improved pay and workplace benefits. But despite numerous protests, a union has yet to be realized. Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a group that represents ride-hail and taxi drivers in the city, noted that state regulations surrounding ride-hail services disproportionately effect some of the city's most vulnerable populations.

"[Uber, Lyft, and Via drivers] are the anchor in many neighborhoods and are majority immigrants of color working to transition out of poverty," Desai said in a statement. "We all know the price of basic needs, like bread and milk, have gone up, and, for drivers, so have operating costs, like fuel and repairs. This 5.3% raise will help thousands of families find security and give many the chance to live under better conditions."

But both Uber and Lyft have a history of pushing back on pay regulations, Vox reports, saying they make rides more expensive for customers and limit business competition. Currently, both companies are also fighting to maintain their drivers' classification as "independent contractors" in Massachusetts and California. Independent contractors aren't legally entitled to minimum wage, overtime and other benefits. Additionally, both companies are appealing a judge's ruling that a California ballot measure classifying ride-hailing drivers as contractors was unconstitutional.

Related: Uber, Lyft Ride Prices Up 40% on Driver Shortage

Wavy Line
Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics

Business News

Bankrupt Wine Company Owes Millions In Bottles, Customers Left Wondering What Went Wrong and Where the Wine Went

Underground Cellar aimed to revolutionize how wine enthusiasts purchased and stored wine. However, the company's abrupt shutdown has customers seething with questions — and anger — about millions of dollars owed in wine.

Business News

The Virgin Islands Want to Serve Elon Musk a Subpoena, But They Can't Find Him

Government officials would like to talk to Tesla's owner as part of an investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case.

Starting a Business

5 Tips For Launching a Business While Keeping Your Day Job

Launching a business while holding down a 9-to-5 is no small feat. It's a common path for aspiring entrepreneurs, but it's not without its challenges.

Growing a Business

The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

All too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged. Here's how to run a meeting the right way.


Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.

Growing a Business

This Stock Screener is on Sale for Memorial Day

invest while mitigating risk with this top-rated stock screening app.