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An Update on Uber’s New Minimum Wage

Spoiler alert: it’s not really a minimum wage.

Keri Savoca
3 min readJan 3, 2019

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This article is Part 2 in a series of articles about Uber’s new minimum wage for New York City drivers. Part 1 is below:

I previously wrote about the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new regulation regarding ride-sharing companies in New York City. I noted in my first article that the regulation was announced on December 4, 2018 and was slated to take effect by the end of that month, but never did.

The basic premise of the regulation: all ride-sharing companies in NYC must pay a living wage to their drivers. The TLC came up with a fancy formula that suggested drivers would receive a minimum of $17.22 per hour after expenses (over $26 per hour before expenses).

According to an Uber representative who responded to my press inquiry, this formula was never intended to guarantee a minimum hourly wage, but a minimum guarantee per trip.

In other words, ride-sharing companies are not required to pay drivers hourly, nor to make up for a lack of earnings on a quiet day with few customers. They are only required to ensure that each successful trip results in a minimum dollar amount that could result in drivers earning a living wage, if there are enough customers taking trips.

According to Uber, that is.

The regulation itself is unclear, but it seems that there might be more to it than Uber is willing to divulge.

“The rules also account for the percentage of a driver’s on-duty time that is spent with a passenger in their car, or utilization … The companies with lower utilization rates would be required to pay higher driver compensation per trip to offset the time their drivers are waiting for a dispatch. The TLC will assess the driver utilization of each of the Largest FHV Companies on a regular basis and adjust and make public the company’s per-mile and per-minute driver compensation…

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