City taxi drivers’ patience meter is running out.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance rallied outside City Hall on Tuesday as cabbies said they want new regulations to boost wages and the values of yellow taxi medallions.
The driver group has advocated for a cap on for-hire cars and to make the meter fare the minimum rate industry wide and give app drivers 80% of trip fare.
The city Taxi & Limousine Commission, meanwhile, proposed a minimum wage standard so app drivers could make $17.22 an hour.
But the taxi drivers group opposed that, arguing that price would be a ceiling.
Bhairavi Desai, director of the alliance, said the focus should be on City Council regulations.
“There’s finally momentum in the City of New York to properly regulate this Wall Street darling,” Desai said, referencing Uber. “We don’t want the Taxi & Limousine Commission to play interference with our momentum.”
TLC spokeswoman Rebecca Harshbarger said the agency is working with the City Council and the industry to address drivers' economic challenges.
The rally followed the release of an over-$1 million Uber ad highlighting its service in the outer boroughs.
“As policymakers contemplate new industry regulations, they must ensure that people who have been ignored by yellow taxi and underserved by mass transit aren’t punished,” Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik, who has taxi drivers in his Queens district, said there’s a new sense of urgency from Council Speaker Corey Johnson to add new regulations to the industry, in light of six taxi driver suicides.
“I want it done sooner, rather than later,” Grodenchik said. “My district can’t wait and I don’t think that there’s dilly-dallying going on. It's a very complicated situation.”
“The Council is deeply concerned with the emotional, mental, and financial pain drivers in this industry are currently experiencing and remains committed to finding a legislative solution,” Jacob Tugendrajch, a spokesman for Johnson, said. “The Council continues to work on legislation that would protect drivers, increase fairness and combat congestion.”
Inder Parmar, an Uber driver since 2013 who has cousins and neighbors who drive yellow cabs, backs efforts in the City Council to set a standard fare across the industry.