Overwhelming interest in new electric rideshare services floods TLC with applications in NYCNovember 16, 2023
The Taxi and Limousine Commission received over 9,600 applications for new, electric rideshare plates before Monday’s court-ordered pause, according to the Daily News. The number of applications could increase as processing continues, says a TLC source. Drivers hurried to secure TLC plates for new electric vehicles before the Monday deadline, as they need these plates to accept app-based hails legally. In addition, there were around 78,000 cars already authorized to drive for Uber and Lyft in the city, which has been in place since 2018 due to a pause initiated by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council. However, the cap was lifted in October by Mayor Adams and TLC Chair David Do to issue new plates to eligible drivers with electric vehicles as part of an initiative to make the city’s rideshare fleet entirely electric or wheelchair accessible by 2030. Despite this, the cap was temporarily reinstated by court order following a lawsuit by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, stopping new applications from being accepted until a ruling is made in the case. However, applications filed before Monday may still be approved. Before the cap was lifted, only about 2,200 of the city’s rideshare vehicles were electric, less than 3% of the fleet. If all 9,600 new applications are approved, it would make up 13.5% of a rideshare fleet totaling 89,800 vehicles. Critics of the decision to lift the cap are concerned about the negative impact on drivers’ incomes and the strain it may place on the city’s car-charging infrastructure. With the potential growth in the electric for-hire fleet, there could be insufficient charging infrastructure to support the increased number of electric vehicles. City Council members have called for a reassessment of the cap being lifted, raising concerns about congestion and driver pay. The TLC maintains that about 90% of new plate applications come from individuals and argues that the new EV plates present an opportunity for drivers who currently rent TLC-plated cars to own their own vehicle instead.