Uber and Lyft drivers who staged the dangerous stunt of choking the FDR Drive during Tuesday morning’s rush hour went over, way over, the line. The city’s roads, bridges and highways are congested enough, in part due to the flood of app-hail vehicles.
If drivers dare clog them deliberately again — stymieing the flow of ambulances and police cars, among others — the city must bring down the hammer. Suspend ride-hail licenses. Make arrests.
Now, to the point those beleaguered drivers were trying to make, so irresponsibly overshadowed by guerilla tactics: Both ride-hail companies are kicking drivers off their platforms when riders are scarce, a move they say is necessary to comply with new city rules. They’re wrong.
Those rules, designed to curb congestion and ensure a fair wage, are built on a formula that effectively costs ride-hail companies more cash if they fail to match the number of cars on the road with actual passenger demand.
The goal was fewer drivers cruising busy streets, earning better wages. Booting drivers off the platform while they’re already out driving doesn’t cut traffic; it’s a dodge.
Meanwhile, in California, a new law requires Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers, now classified as independent contractors, as employees, with the benefits that classification entails.
Some in New York want a carbon-copy law. That might be a mistake. New York City’s drivers, a majority of whom work full time, already have more benefits than their West Coast cousins. They have a guaranteed minimum wage, access to unemployment benefits and workers compensation insurance.
Respond to that reality.