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August 22, 2019

Lyft backs down, decides to pay drivers in full until minimum wage lawsuit resolved

February 7, 2019
Lyft says it’ll begin paying drivers as prescribed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission until suit settled. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

A week after filing a lawsuit to block New York’s new minimum wage for app-based drivers, Lyft is humming a different tune.

The ride-sharing company announced Wednesday it would begin paying drivers as prescribed by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission — at least until the suit’s next hearing date March 18.

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“We know some of you may be confused by the TLC’s new plan and our rollout of increased rates,” the company said in an email to drivers. “Starting today, we’re updating your rates in New York to more simply reflect the new TLC rate card.”

A Lyft spokesman said drivers working for the multi-billion-dollar company were complaining they were being paid less than they were for Uber rides.

The company planned on issuing bonuses to make up the difference, but drivers say all they saw was less money in their accounts.

Lyft’s lawsuit last week came two days before the new driver minimum wage rules were set to go into effect.

The company was twice denied a temporary restraining order to put a hold on the rules — and instead opted to pay drivers by a different calculation than one mandated by the TLC. Federal Judge Andrea Masley ordered Lyft to calculate the difference between its own rate and the TLC’s, and put any outstanding money in a secure account until the lawsuit is resolved.

The announcement from Lyft was hailed as a win for driver advocates.

“Thousands of drivers came together and fought for these rules and city leaders agreed,” said Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “We are glad Lyft is now recognizing this and will pay the wage.“

But Lyft says it’s not planning on abiding by the TLC’s rules without a fight.

“The TLC’s approach hands Uber a massive advantage at the expense of smaller players,” the company wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “We stand by our arguments that the TLC’s specific implementation of the rules will be detrimental, and we’ll continue to defend them for New York’s riders and drivers.”

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