NEW YORK (PIX11) — Uber, Lyft, and food delivery drivers are rallying against the MTA’s congestion pricing plan, calling it “unfair” because the new toll would essentially be a double tax, organizers said.
Rideshare drivers with the Justice for App Workers are opposed to the plan that could charge drivers up to $23 for driving into Manhattan below 60th Street. More than 23,000 drivers have already inundated the MTA with complaints slamming the additional toll and are planning a massive rally at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in front of MTA headquarters in Downtown Manhattan, organizers said.
“I think the price is unfair,” said Adalgisa Peyero-Diarra, a driver for Uber and Lyft. “If they enforce this fee, thousands of divers could be unemployed and the economy is critical right now.”
The drivers, mostly immigrants, already pay a $2.75 charge to enter below 96th Street in Manhattan and a $2.50 airport fee. Those fees are passed to the customer.
Considering the gas prices and rising expenses, the additional toll would drive down their business and cripple their livelihoods, organizers said. They want rideshare and food delivery drivers to be exempt from the new congestion pricing fee.
The MTA, however, has suggested the workers could transition to bus drivers for the agency. But the career change is not practical for many who don’t have either the degree or language skills to make the switch, organizers said.
“They need to reevaluate the plan, and not double tax us,” said Pierro-Diarra, adding many of her customers have already expressed concerns about the new plan. “It’s an unfair burden.”
Rideshare drivers are not the only ones who have sounded off on the new plan. Hundreds of people have signed up to speak at the six public hearings that began Thursday. Wednesday is also the last day of the hearings.
Congestion pricing is expected to start in late 2023 or early 2024, an MTA official said. The plan is supposed to reduce traffic and help the MTA raise $1 billion a year for infrastructure projects.
An MTA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the rally.