‘The amount we make as drivers become less’: Rideshare drivers fight against congestion pricing

by: Zhané Caldwell

Posted: Aug 17, 2023 / 07:57 PM EDT

Updated: Aug 17, 2023 / 07:57 PM EDT

FINANCIAL DISTRICT, Manhattan (PIX11) — Uber and Lyft drivers spoke out against congestion pricing at a rally Thursday outside MTA headquarters in the Financial District. 

The rally happened just moments before the Traffic Mobility Review Board met to discuss a recommended tolling structure for the program. 

Michele Dotton has been an Uber driver for the past seven years and says congestion pricing would cause a domino effect on riders being charged tolls and drivers missing out on much-needed money because of it.

“I’m a single mom and I have been taking care of my kids for a long time,” Dotton said. “So every time an additional fee or toll or tax is added or hiked up, it doesn’t mean that companies can charge the riders more. It means the amount we make as drivers become less.”

Dotton is one of the dozens of drivers with the advocacy group Independent Driver’s Guild calling on the MTA to propose a plan that would not impact rideshare drivers. They say the current plan would reduce thousands of driver jobs and hurt the industry. 

MTA President Richard Davey attended a rally outside city hall early Thursday morning touting what he believes are the reasons congestion pricing is needed.

“Faster buses, cleaner air, safer streets,” Davey said. “If you’re against that, I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t.”

Meanwhile, the city council’s committee on transportation and infrastructure held an oversight hearing on congestion pricing Thursday. The council aimed to get answers on how the MTA plans to use the money made from the program and the impact the measure will have on vulnerable communities.

MTA officials said their plans include making subways more accessible and alleviating transit deserts across the city.