NEW YORK CITY - New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commissioner says it is a bold initiative and one of the first of its kind nationwide.
The proposal-- announced in conjunction with the office of Mayor Eric Adams-- would mandate that all rideshare vehicles that operate over a certain number of trips a day be either emission-free or wheelchair accessible by 2030.
"The for-hire industry, especially the high volume (companies)," Do said, "contributes about 600,000 megatons of pollution to our environment."
"And that represents about 4% of our total emissions in New York City. This is our biggest fleet."
The TLC says there are nearly 80,000 Uber and Lyft vehicles in New York City.
The plan would be implemented in phases. For example, next year only 5% of vehicles would have to be compliant. By 2025, 15% would have to be compliant. Similar benchmarks would follow for the next six years.
The city says that slow rollout will mean that over time the price of electric vehicles will become more affordable. The drivers-- who will have to purchase the vehicles—aren’t so sure.
"Working people don't put food on their table based on economic speculation and forecasting," says Bhairavi Desai with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the union that represents rideshare drivers.
Desai says if the city wants to put this in place they should offer more financial help.
"Most drivers right now—Uber and Lyft drivers — have like a Toyota Camry hybrid. And an electric vehicle in today's market, even after a rebate, would be around $12,000 more for the drivers."
TLC Commissioner Do says there already are federal and state incentives. And, he says, Uber provides a one-dollar incentive per trip to a driver with an electric vehicle.
A public hearing on the proposed rules is set for September 20th.