Ridesharing

Rideshare Companies Offer $100M Relief Fund For NYC Taxi Drivers

Documents show that Lyft, Uber and Via have offered to help New York City’s taxi medallion owners through a $100 million relief fund paid over five years.

The proposal, as detailed in documents provided to TechCrunch by Lyft, would have the companies contributing $20 million per year into a “hardship fund” that would be used to bail out taxi drivers who bought into the old system at great cost and are unlikely to recoup their investment.

But the money was contingent on New York dropping its proposed regulations that would limit the number of ride-hailing drivers in the city, which could cost the ridesharing companies more than $100 million.

The city rejected the offer immediately.

Earlier this year, new data revealed that Uber and Lyft are becoming more popular than yellow and green cabs in New York City.

Analysis of data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission from blogger Todd Schneider found that in February 2017, ride-hailing services made 65 percent more pickups than taxis did. And the two companies combined now make more pickups per month than taxis did in any month since the data began being analyzed in 2009.

In addition, Uber is now bigger than yellow and green taxis combined.

“Over the past 4 years, ride-hailing apps have grown from 0 to 15 million trips per month, while taxi usage has only declined by around 5 million trips per month,” wrote Schneider.

The popularity of ridesharing services is only expected to grow, with both Uber and Lyft vying for customers, with Lyft’s revenue growth up 168 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, while Uber’s increased by 61 percent.

In the meantime, taxi drivers are suffering. A mere four years ago, a medallion in New York City was a million dollar purchase — these days, they tend to run closer to $250,000. And, as Uber and Lyft have eaten up more and more of the market, drivers are defaulting on their debts.

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