The TLC proposes to increase fleet owners' income at the expense of drivers - even though the agency's own report questions whether a boost is warranted.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission is asking its board Thursday to approve a series of rule changes enabling owners to charge drivers more to lease cabs on a weekly basis and also force drivers to pay for some car repairs.
But a report penned by commission chairman David Yassky last month to comply local law said fleet owners just last year didn't open their books and provide sufficient operating cost and revenue data to justify an increase in lease rates when fares were hiked in September. They haven't provided any additional information, the report states.
Still, Yassky agreed in December to promote the income-boosting rule changes coming up for a vote in exchange for the fleet owners, represented by the Metropolitan Transportation Board of Trade, dropping a lawsuit challenging the September fare-increase package, court papers show.
Taxi drivers say the new rules will take away much of the financial gains they received through the September fare hike. The average take-home pay for a driver working a 12-hour shift went from $131 last year to $171, according to the TLC.
"These rules are absolutely horrendous and if they are passed will be disastrous for thousands upon thousands of drivers," Bhairavi Desi, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
Fleet owners contend the fare-hike was lopsided in favor of drivers and the rule changes address the imbalance.
The TLC issued a statement Tuesday echoing those sentiments: "We respect NYTWA's right to speak out and be heard. "These proposed rules seek to create a balance between the legitimate financial concerns of fleet operators and the needs and concerns of drivers."