New York City rideshare app drivers won’t be getting the pay raise they were expecting ahead of the holidays.
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge on Tuesday granted Uber’s request for a temporary restraining order on rate increases that were scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 19. Last week, Uber Technologies Inc. filed a lawsuit against the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission over pay rate hikes that were approved by the TLC in November, characterizing the increases as proposed “dramatic, unprecedented, and unsupported.”
“Such a significant fare hike, right before the holidays, would irreparably damage Uber’s reputation, impair goodwill, and risk permanent loss of business and customers,” the suit reads.
Tuesday’s decision comes as a blow to app drivers, who were expecting per-minute rates increases of 7.8%
“This raise, which we fought really hard for, was really meant to help drivers who’ve been struggling between paying for food and gasoline,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director at the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told Gothamist on Wednesday. “And that’s the raise that Grinch Uber, in a very petty way, fought to take away from the drivers.”
According to a TLC spokesperson, the agency is appealing Tuesday’s decision.
“We are disappointed for the tens of thousands of drivers who are once again being made to bear the rising costs of inflation all on their own, with no help from the multibillion-dollar company they work under” TLC Commissioner David Do said. “We will aggressively defend this important standard for our drivers.”
Uber said the initial rationale behind the proposal to bump driver pay rested largely on high gas prices earlier this year, but gas prices have since “dropped substantially since their high” several months ago.
“Drivers do critical work and deserve to be paid fairly, but rates should be calculated in a way that is transparent, consistent and predictable,” spokesperson Josh Gold said. “Existing TLC rules continue to provide for an annual review tied to the rate of inflation; the for-hire vehicle industry is the only industry in New York State with this mandate.”
The raises were put on hold until a hearing scheduled for Jan. 31, when both Uber and the city are set to appear in court.