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Legal Update: New York Ridesharing Laws and Restrictions

February 11, 2020
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Ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber have been operating in New York City for several years now, and these services have undoubtedly changed the way New Yorkers are tourists get around the City. These companies allow people to use their cars to transport people for a fee, and consumers get to request a ride by using an app on their phone, often for rates far below those offered by taxi cabs.

Not surprisingly, NYC has decided to regulate ridesharing companies by placing various restrictions on the way they and their drivers may operate. Below, our Uber & Lyft accident attorney reviews some of the regulations.

Regulations on Who May Drive

Any person who wants to offer rides through a rideshare company must meet some requirements:

  • Be over the age of 19
  • Pass a background check
  • Submit fingerprints
  • Carry at least the minimum amount of insurance

Minimum Wage Requirements

Uber & Lyft drivers are independent contractors. This makes them no different than someone who writes articles and sells them to magazines. Typically, independent contractors are not paid any sort of minimum wage, because they work for many different clients and have control over how long it takes them to complete work.

The situation is a little different with rideshare drivers. Many labor advocates have long argued that these drivers are really no different than employees. New York City agreed and created a minimum wage law for these drivers. The New York City Council in August 2018 passed a bill that mandated that the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which regulates the rideshare industry, create pay standards that increase how much drivers make to $17.22 an hour. The Commission did that, creating a complicated formula that has been the subject of lawsuits.

Caps on the Number of Vehicles

In 2018, the City also decided to freeze the number of ride-hailing licenses, which essentially capped the number of Ubers and Lyfts operating in New York City. The cap was temporary and lasted only a year; however, it has been extended. Although Lyft challenged the law in court, it lost, with the court finding that the City was well within its power to impose caps.

Restrictions on “Cruising”

In the Summer of 2019, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission instituted rules that limited the amount of time drivers can operate while waiting for a rider – a practice referred to as “cruising.” As proposed, the law required ridesharing companies to reduce cruising time to 36 percent by February and 31 percent six months later. The rule is currently in legal limbo, however, as a state judge struck down the law as unconstitutional in December, and the City says that is considering an appeal.

Insurance Requirements

If you were injured in a ridesharing accident, you naturally want compensation for your injuries. Rideshare drivers should carry insurance, but the amount of insurance available depends on when you were injured. For example, Uber requires the following if the driver is not on a ride:

  • $75,000 in bodily injury liability per person, up to $150,000 per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident
  • $50,000 in personal injury protection (no-fault) benefits
  • Uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability, up to $50,000 per accident and $50,000 for death per person, up to $100,000 per accident

Much more insurance is available if the accident happens while the driver is actually on a trip through rideshare companies’ corporate insurance policies. For example, Uber provides the following coverage when a driver is on his or her way to pick up a rider or in the process of completing a trip:

  • Property damage and bodily injury: $1.25 million
  • Personal injury protection benefits: $50,000 per person
  • Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage: $1.25 million

Contact an NYC Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you were injured in a rideshare accident, we’ve got your back. Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman has helped many people navigate the complicated rideshare rules. Give us a call at 212-285-3300, to schedule your free consultation, or fill out our contact form.


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