Policy, Transportation

New Ride-Sharing App Laws in New York

By Jonathan LaRowe SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – On Tuesday New York became the first city to pass a minimum wage law for drivers of ride-sharing apps. Drivers will starting getting paid approximately $17 beginning in January.

A spokesman for Uber said this new law is a backwards step and will end up resulting in higher fares for many people who rely on the app for its affordability.

Some customers who use Uber and Lyft said they do not mind the higher cost. Michael Camele, a Syracuse student, uses both Uber and Lyft frequently. He said he would be okay with slightly higher fares.

“I actually wouldn’t mind my fares going up if I knew that the reason my fares were going up is because my driver’s actually receiving a minimum wage,” Camele said.

Event though Camele supports the minimum wage increase, some drivers are not in favor of the new law. Jason Barnes, a full-time driver for Uber and Lyft, said he does not think a minimum wage increase is a good idea.

“There’s parts of me that feels like you lose that autonomy, that independence when someone is giving you a wage,” Barnes said. “That turns into not being an independent contractor now.”

Barnes said the minimum wage is not necessary because many drivers are able to make a great deal of money if they have a good work ethic.

“For some people, they’re making a good amount of money and they’re taking care of their families on that money so it works out great,” Barnes said. “You just have to work hard for it.”

The issue of regulating Uber drivers in New York City is critical as New York is the company’s largest market.