A Manhattan judge blocked the Taxi and Limousine Commision from raising rideshare app driver pay following a lawsuit by Uber in a written decision Monday.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that though drivers “deserved the boost,” the Taxi and Limousine Commission had “failed to include a single mathematical computation” explaining how it arrived at the increase originally approved by the agency in November.
Drivers were expecting per-minute increases of 7.8% to go into effect Dec. 19. But days before the pay bump went into effect, a judge issued a temporary restraining order after Uber sued the TLC and characterized the proposed increases as “dramatic, unprecedented, and unsupported.”
In Monday’s decision, Judge Engoron wrote that he “sympathizes with the plight of ride service drivers,” and urged the TLC to try again, suggesting that next time, the reasoning include “new explanation as clear as possible” and that “concrete numerical examples be given, and all calculations explained.”
Uber spokesperson Freddi Goldstein said the company “welcomed the decision.”
“It is important that the TLC’s reasoning be transparent and understandable because that is what best benefits drivers, riders, businesses and the public,” Goldstein said. “The TLC rules continue to provide for an adjustment tied to the rate of inflation that Uber supports.”
New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhaivari Desai said the decision was misguided.
“It’s an extreme standard that’s being applied to rulemaking by an agency. We object to the standard because it will make it harder to regulate the companies in the future,” she told Gothamist.
Bhavari called on the TLC to immediately redo the rules immediately so that drivers could get their raise as soon as possible, and said the union’s ongoing strikes and protests would continue until the pay increase is in place.
Meanwhile, the TLC Commissioner David Do said the decision was “a technical delay, not a defeat.”
“We’re considering all options, including a more detailed rule as the judge recommends, to strengthen this critical pay standard for the city’s hardworking drivers as soon as possible,” Do said.