Protesting Uber and Lyft Drivers Paralyze New York City

Audrey Conklin

Uber and Lyft drivers in New York who were protesting against new changes to the companies’ apps brought traffic to a standstill in the city Tuesday morning.

About 300 drivers partook in the demonstration organized by the Brooklyn-based Independent Drivers Guild, which represents drivers who work for both rideshare apps, in retaliation of “unfair treatment of drivers” and app changes that came after the city implemented new wage regulations based on utilization, a Sept. 14 Facebook post from the guild reads.

The post called on Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to “regulate” the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). The commission implemented a guaranteed minimum wage rule of $17.22 in the city in February “to provide drivers a minimum take-home pay for each trip after covering expenses,” according to TLC.

“Until we took needed action last year, it has been Uber and Lyft’s business model to oversaturate the market while promising drivers that they could succeed despite these companies’ stacking the deck against them,” Acting TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a Tuesday statement.

“The Mayor, TLC and City Council put in place smart policies to address the problems these companies created, and they are finally being forced to experiment with ways to run their businesses in an environment of accountability. We will continue to fight on behalf of drivers until they are able to make ends meet,” he continued.

Lyft and Uber have since restricted the number of drivers who are able to pick up riders in unpopular areas of the city. The apps added these limitations to avoid paying the minimum wage requirement for drivers who are less likely to get customers, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

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