NYC to raise minimum pay for Uber and Lyft drivers

Average driver earnings are estimated to increase almost $4,000 per year.

Shannon Stapleton / reuters

Uber and Lyft drivers in New York City are about to get a boost in their paychecks. Last week NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city would increase its minimum driver pay rate for both Uber and Lyft, the second such move since 2018. Both ride hail apps will have to pay their NYC drivers a minimum of $1.161 per mile and $0.529 per minute, which amounts to roughly a 5.3 percent raise.

It’s the first bit of good news for gig workers in one of the world’s most expensive cities in a while. NYC ride hail drivers have spent the past few years fighting for the right to unionize, which would allow them to bargain for better pay and workplace benefits. However, a union has yet to materialize despite numerous protests.

“Uber, Lyft, and Via drivers are part of the largest private sector workforces in the state. They are the anchor in many neighborhoods and are majority immigrants of color working to transition out of poverty," said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a group that represents ride hail and taxi drivers in the city, 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 percent raise will help thousands of families find security and give many the chance to live under better conditions.”

The policy will go into effect on March 1, and impact an estimated 90,000 drivers in New York City, according to NY 1.

The NYC raise is the latest victory in a global effort to improve the livelihoods of gig economy drivers. Uber and Lyft are currently locked in a battle in Massachusetts and California over its classification of drivers as “independent contractors”, a label which frees both companies from paying drivers minimum wage, overtime, and other benefits. Last August a judge ruled that a California ballot measure that classified ride-hailing drivers as contractors was unconstitutional, a decision that Uber and Lyft are appealing.