Mohammed Uddin was having a foul day, and it was solely lunchtime. He was fourth in line at a green-taxi stand in Astoria, Queens, and never glad about it.
However he was not ready for a inexperienced cab to drag up. He was in a line of inexperienced cabs ready for passengers to select up within the shadow of the Astoria Boulevard subway station.
“I began at 9 o’clock,” stated Mr. Uddin, a green-taxi driver since he left a lodge job on Lengthy Island in 2014. “I made $47 thus far. That’s very unhealthy. If Uber hadn’t are available, it wouldn’t be like this.”
Uber and Lyft, the ride-share providers which have reworked the best way many New Yorkers get round, have plunged the yellow cab trade into an existential disaster. However green-cab drivers are not any much less indignant about app-connected rides, saying that Uber and Lyft have torpedoed their fledgling section of the taxi trade earlier than it even had an opportunity to ascertain itself.
Mayor Invoice de Blasio not too long ago signed a invoice into regulation that capped ride-share automobiles at their present stage, round 100,000, making it the primary main American metropolis to impose a restrict on the booming trade. However drivers like Mr. Uddin stated the cap was unlikely to create a brand new window of alternative for inexperienced cabs, partly as a result of ride-hail automobiles outnumber inexperienced cabs 30 to 1. Metropolis officers estimate the variety of inexperienced cabs on metropolis streets to be round three,500.
Town needed inexperienced taxis to be an antidote to a longstanding drawback: Yellow cabs not often choose up individuals outdoors Manhattan, besides on the airports. However their arrival roughly coincided with the rise of Uber, which, after establishing itself in Manhattan, expanded throughout the town.
“Uber and Lyft actually decimated the inexperienced cab sector,” stated Bhairavi Desai, the chief director of the New York Taxi Staff Alliance, which represents taxi and ride-hail drivers. “There was excessive expectation amongst drivers that this may be a possibility to earn with out the identical stage of stress that you simply face within the yellow-cab trade.”
Uber counters that it helps inexperienced cabs, as a result of many green-taxi operators additionally drive for Uber. An Uber spokesman stated the ride-hail service dispatches greater than 50,000 journeys to inexperienced taxis each month — in fact, for passengers, it may be complicated to order an Uber automobile and have a inexperienced taxi pull as much as the curb. The Uber spokesman, Jason Submit, stated Uber supplied “an unlimited incomes alternative by connecting drivers with extra rides,” particularly in far-flung neighborhoods the place fewer inexperienced cabs flow into in search of passengers.
Uber riders say it’s usually a lot simpler and quicker to get an Uber automobile with a few faucets on a cellphone than to it’s to search for a inexperienced cab to hail on the road.
Figures from the town’s Taxi and Limousine Fee underscore how a lot enterprise for inexperienced cabs has declined since ride-share automobiles arrived. In Might, inexperienced taxis made 25,693 journeys a day throughout the town, a 55 % lower from Might 2015, the busiest month on file, which had 57,637 journeys. Against this, Uber says it dealt with greater than 84,000 journeys to or from a single neighborhood, East New York, Brooklyn, between July 18 and Aug. 15.
For inexperienced cabs, income has declined proportionally as journeys have dwindled, to $386,965 a day citywide in Might 2018, from $862,099 in Might 2015. Inexperienced-cab drivers are working lower than they had been, 5.7 hours in Might 2018, in contrast with 6.5 hours in Might 2015.
Brooklyn accounted for a 3rd of green-cab pickups from January via Might of this 12 months, in line with the taxi fee. Virtually one other third, 31 %, had been in northern Manhattan, and 29.5 % had been in Queens. Against this, solely 5.three % had been within the Bronx, and just one one-hundredth of 1 % on Staten Island.
ImageFor inexperienced cabs, income has declined proportionally as journeys have dwindled, to $386,965 a day citywide in Might 2018, from $862,099 in Might 2015.CreditBryan Thomas for The New York Instances
And, whereas the variety of ride-hail automobiles has soared, the variety of inexperienced cabs has shrunk. A complete of eight,345 permits have been issued since 2013, however the taxi fee considers solely three,514 lively.
As for whether or not Uber had damage the inexperienced cabs, Mr. Submit, the Uber spokesman, stated, “I’d say Uber has constructed a greater mousetrap.”
Inexperienced taxis had been speculated to be that mousetrap — a brand new class for the entrenched taxi trade, created when Michael R. Bloomberg was mayor. “The precise to hail a authorized taxi in all 5 boroughs,” he stated in 2013, was “one thing that New Yorkers have deserved and by no means had.” A survey by the taxi fee discovered that 95 % of yellow taxis picked up passengers under 96th Road in Manhattan and on the airports.
The answer — taxis that might solely function away from the areas dominated by yellow cabs — now appears so 2011, which is when the Bloomberg administration first proposed it. The brand new class of taxis that was created, the inexperienced cabs, couldn’t choose up passengers in Manhattan south of East 96th Road or West 110th Road. They will cease if somebody hails them wherever within the different boroughs, besides on the airports.
By coincidence, 2011 can be when Uber started working in New York.
Now, some passengers say inexperienced cabs tried, however by no means fulfilled their promise.
“They stuffed a vital void in areas like Harlem the place yellow cab service was spotty at greatest” after they first hit the streets, stated Derek Q. Johnson, who lives in Harlem. “However I feel it’s arduous to dispute that the trip is best with Uber and Lyft and the reliability is extra assured.”
Completely different guidelines apply to inexperienced cabs at airports, the place they will drop off passengers however can not choose them up, besides by prearrangement — for instance, if they’re despatched there by a dispatcher. Many drivers complain that these guidelines power them to go to the airports empty if they’re dispatched for a pickup or return empty in the event that they take somebody there. Not like yellow cabs, they can not wait within the taxi traces. Uber and the opposite ride-hailing apps will not be certain by airport guidelines.
The yellow-cab trade responded to the plan for inexperienced cabs by going to courtroom. Yellow cab house owners nervous that the worth of their million-dollar medallions would plummet.
Town gained the courtroom problem and the worth plummeted, however not due to competitors from the inexperienced cabs that went on the streets in 2013.
“Sadly, they got here alongside concurrently Uber and Lyft,” stated Mitchell L. Moss, a professor at New York College the place he’s the director of the Rudin Heart for Transportation Coverage and Administration. “The advantage of Uber is it may well come choose you up in extremely dispersed areas, which the inexperienced taxi can’t actually do as a result of it’s obtained to remain close to dense transit pickup areas.”
Inexperienced cabs, he stated, are “mainly clustering at transit and retail hubs” — close to the place subway traces finish, for instance — as a result of they’re extra more likely to discover passengers there than in the event that they cruise the streets they’re approved to cruise the place persons are not used to seeing cabs. Certainly, Ms. Desai, of the Taxi Staff Alliance, stated that “important street-hail markets” had not developed outdoors Manhattan.
However that was not the one drawback for inexperienced cabs. “Town was form of undercutting them by licensing all these different automobiles” — the ride-share automobiles, stated Graham Hodges, a historian of the taxi trade and a professor at Colgate College, who predicted shakeout is coming.
“There are far too many automobiles on the street, and that’s the place I feel the T.L.C. will tighten up regulation,” he stated, referring to the taxi fee. “And after they do, those with these permits will probably be in the very best authorized state of affairs. They’ll be those that survive.”
Uber and Lyft Drivers in Chicago Will Hold Rally to Protest Abuse and Low Wages
Uber and Lyft drivers in Chicago will rally at O’Hare airport Monday in protest of abuses they have faced from riders as well as the low wages they receive from their work, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Organizers with the group Chicago Rideshare Advocates are working to organize the thousands of drivers across the city to demand better pay and working conditions. Last week the group rallied outside City Hall with a banner that read, “Uber/Lyft Stop Abusing Workers/Cities.”
Mattia Nanfria, a 41-year-old ride-share driver who also organizes with Chicago Rideshare Advocates said she has been propositioned and attacked by riders. She said that after reporting having problems with some riders, Uber didn’t seem to do much to address the issue. “For all I know, they did nothing, which is a little disturbing,” she said.
To make matters worse, Nanfria said there are some weeks when she makes less than the city’s minimum $12 hourly wage. “The weeks where I’m clearing $10 to $12 an hour, that’s what I lose sleep over,” Nanfria told the Sun-Times.
Chicago city officials have considered following New York’s lead and putting a cap on the number of ride-share vehicles in the city, which has quadrupled to nearly 66,000 drivers in the last three years, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Rideshare Associates are on board with capping the number of drivers, along with increasing wages and drivers’ safety.
“Nobody wants to ban Uber and Lyft. Nobody wants that,” Eli Martin, a co-organizer of Chicago Rideshare Advocates told the Sun-Times. “We all like this, we just have to make it work better.”
Both Uber and Lyft oppose the proposal for a license cap.
The surge in ride-sharing services in Chicago has hurt business for cab and taxi drivers, while also worsening working conditions for Uber and Lyft drivers.
Earlier this year, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi suggested that New York City officials should impose a fee on ride-sharing apps to help taxi medallion owners facing financial burdens from the increase of ride-sharing services. But the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called the proposal “a slap in the face to struggling drivers and an attempt to get out of being regulated.”
Chicago officials have proposed raising the average wage for drivers, which is currently less than the minimum wage at $11.53 an hour after expenses.
The group will hold its rally at the O’Hare Transportation Network Providers’ parking lot from 7-10 p.m. on Monday.
More Than 100 Cars Damaged in NYC Mall Parking Garage Inferno; Suspect Arrested: NYPD
Police have arrested a man in connection to a seven-alarm inferno that tore through a multi-level parking garage at Brooklyn’s Kings Plaza Shopping Center Monday, enveloping the entire area in thick smoke, engulfing more than 100 vehicles and leaving nearly two dozen people hurt.
Police say they’ve arrested Avon Stephens, 23, on an arson charge in the fire at a parking garage at the mall on Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue. A motive wasn’t clear, and details on an attorney for Stephens weren’t immediately available.
The fire call came in shortly before 9 a.m. Monday, and the blaze quickly escalated from a two-alarm to a four-alarm fire, then became a six-alarm inferno within an hour. By 11:15 a.m., it was a seven-alarm blaze. It was under control by noon.
Twenty-one people, 18 of them firefighters, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, mostly related to smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. Four of the victims were taken to hospitals. Fire officials warned the patient total would likely rise.
A law enforcement source said 137 cars were damaged, and 70 of them were burned to their shells, many of them Mercedes.
The garage holds about 4,000 spaces and fire officials said 120 cars are normally stored there by a car dealership. There were some explosions from car tires burning; officials said there is no risk of collapse.
Citizen app video showed smoke spewing from the garage as bystanders crowded near emergency vehicles, seeking shelter from the shroud of smoke.
More than a half-dozen MTA bus lines were running with delays in the area because of the FDNY activity. The department said more than 200 of its members responded.
A mall spokesperson said to avoid the area until further notice. The plaza was closed, though officials said the fire did not extend to any stores.
Kings Plaza has more than 120 stores, including Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, H&M, Michael Kors, Express and Foot Locker.
In 2013, it became the subject of a controversial order that temporarily banned people younger than 18 without the presence of an adult after hundreds of teens attacked patrons and vandalized the shopping center, forcing it to shut down.
No one was ultimately charged in that fray, nor was anyone hurt.
Council moves ahead on bills to help taxis
After years of failing to address the fallout from an upended taxi industry, the City Council is trying to make up for lost time.
Just a month after leading the way to an unprecedented one-year cap on Uber and Lyft vehicles, the council’s for-hire vehicle committee was back in action today with a hearing on nine more bills.
Overall they’re aimed at addressing the economic plight of roughly 6,000 individual taxi-medallion owners and the wider pool of taxi and ride-hail drivers, who now number more than 185,000, up from 30,000 six years ago. The push for more legislation has been fueled by six suicides in the past year by drivers who grew desperate because of their circumstances—and by a sense that the ride-hail industry has lost the ability it once had to block legislation it didn’t like.
The bills include an effort to establish a task force to study medallion values and recommend policies to increase prices and one to ask the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set up a program to provide drivers with health care and other insurance benefits.
If the bills pass, however, it remains unclear when they would bring relief, what form that relief would take and how it would be paid for. The health benefits proposal calls for adding a surcharge to all taxi and for-hire vehicle fares—which would be in addition to a congestion-pricing surcharge ($2.50 for cabs, $2.75 for app-based services) that will go into effect Jan. 1.
Taxi and Limousine Commission chair Meera Joshi, who testified in support of the bills, said it would be better to find a funding mechanism that didn’t antagonize passengers. The FHV committee chair, Ruben Diaz Sr., also spoke up against the surcharge.
The TLC, which will be developing the rules and carrying out the legislation, also will need to find out exactly what the health insurance needs are for the vast majority of drivers.
“That will be a painstaking study,” Joshi said.
Other bills are aimed at fighting predatory practices by car-leasing operators. They would require the TLC to set a cap on costs, ensure consumer-protection practices and prevent leasing operators from making automatic deductions from drivers’ earnings.
Some medallion owners who blame the TLC for allowing Uber and Lyft to flourish declared that the raft of new bills wouldn’t do much good if Joshi remained in charge of developing and enforcing the regulations.
“In our view, there can be no remedy if the remedy and the implementation are left up to the current TLC regime, which is [composed] of leftovers from the Bloomberg administration,” said Carolyn Protz, a medallion owner, who read from a letter from the Taxi Medallion Owner Driver Association.
Joshi was, in fact, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, and much of the regulatory structure that determined Uber and Lyft’s place in the TLC universe was already in place when she started in May 2014.
In an email, Protz pointed out that Joshi was the TLC’s deputy counsel during the Bloomberg administration and that other senior TLC officials are also Bloomberg alumni.
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