DRIVERS, ADVOCATES SEEK RELIEF FROM HIGH LEASING RATES

28 Apr 2023

APRIL 28, 2023 BLACK CAR NEWS

According to a Daily News analysis of Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) data, nearly 10,000 of the city’s 75,000 high-volume for-hire vehicles (HVFHVs) are controlled by just a few leasing companies. Drivers say the shift toward leasing has made it harder to enter the business and earn a living. They say they pay up to $400 or $500 a week to lease cars with scarce TLC license plates. Rental fees for larger or more luxurious vehicles can cost as much as $700 a week.

The data suggest that most HVFHV drivers still work without involvement of a leasing company. But over time – beginning even before the TLC-imposed license plate cap – leasing companies began accumulating fleets of cars with TLC plates, according to industry advocates.

Drivers have also complained that the leasing companies install equipment that allows their vehicle to be deactivated remotely if the driver misses a payment – and that when a company turns a car off, it often takes a day or more to resolve the issue, putting a driver further in the hole.

Officials at the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) are calling on the TLC to limit the number of rideshare drivers by limiting TLC-issued driver licenses.

“Limiting licenses makes drivers more valuable,” IDG spokeswoman Moira Muntz said. “Limiting plates makes cars more expensive.”

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