Congestion pricing surcharge goes into effect in NYC

NEW YORK — As of Saturday, it will cost you more to take a taxi or use a ride share service in some parts of New York City.

New York has rolled out the first phase of a congestion pricing plan. The new policy adds a surcharge to those rides in order to fund the city's mass transit system.

The new ride fees were supposed to start Jan. 1, but drivers sued over the proposed fee of $2.50 for yellow taxis and $2.75 for other for-hire vehicles, including Ubers and Lyfts.

Trips that leave New York City will also come with an added fee, or an “Out of Town Surcharge.” The surcharge says, drivers should be compensated for their return trip if they start in New York City and end outside the five boroughs.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance called the fees an additional "crushing burden" on drivers.

The State Supreme Court judge on Thursday allowed the case to move forward by denying a motion from the state to dismiss the lawsuit.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement saying they're "moving forward vigorously with a full congestion pricing plan."

In a statement, Uber said the company supports the “spirit” of the rule, but also wants to ensure rides remain affordable.

“We fully support the spirit of this rule, because it aligns with one of our core missions: to connect drivers to the best earnings opportunities. However, we also want to do right by our riders and are working hard to ensure that your ride remains as affordable as possible.”

“Rider fares are increasing in order to comply with a new city imposed cruising fee that ensures all app-based drivers earn a per-trip pay standard of at least $27.86 an hour," an Uber spokesperson said.

Despite the minimum wage increase, Lyft and Juno have decided not to pay their drivers the new minimum wage amount.

The Independent Drivers Guild is calling Lyft and Juno’s decision “outrageous,” condemning the companies for keeping their employees underpaid.

“It is outrageous and totally indefensible that billion-dollar companies Lyft and Juno refuse to pay their drivers in accordance with the minimum wage. Lyft drivers are so severely underpaid that simply enforcing the minimum wage would increase driver earnings by nearly $10,000 per year. Shame on Lyft and Juno for prolonging the suffering for their drivers – thousands of hardworking New Yorkers – and their families.”

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