The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) in New York City experienced a significant influx of applications for new electric rideshare plates before a court-ordered pause took effect. Sources from the TLC have revealed that over 9,600 applications were received, and that number is expected to increase as applications continue to be processed.
The surge in applications came as drivers scrambled to secure TLC plates for their electric vehicles ahead of the Monday deadline. Under the city’s regulations, drivers must have TLC plates in order to accept app-based hails.
The applications for electric vehicle plates add to the existing fleet of approximately 78,000 cars authorized to drive for Uber and Lyft in the city. Since 2018, there had been a loose cap on the number of rideshare vehicles allowed, which was lifted in October of last year. The decision to lift the cap was part of Mayor Adams’ plan to transition the city’s rideshare fleet to entirely electric or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030.
However, the cap was temporarily reinstated due to a court order following a lawsuit filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge J. Machelle Sweeting ordered the city to stop accepting applications on the day of the order, pending a ruling in the case. Nonetheless, applications submitted before the order can still be granted.
Prior to the cap being lifted, less than 3% of the city’s rideshare vehicles were electric, totaling around 2,200 cars. If all 9,600 new applications are approved, the rideshare fleet would comprise 13.5% electric vehicles out of a total of 89,800 vehicles.
Opponents of the cap lifting argue that the increase in rideshare cars would negatively impact driver incomes and exacerbate congestion. Additionally, the rapid growth of electric vehicles could strain the city’s car-charging infrastructure. The US Department of Energy estimates that when the electric for-hire fleet reaches around 21,000 cars, the city will need over 1,000 fast chargers. Currently, there are only 187 available.
City Council members Amanda Farias and Selvena Brooks-Powers have called for a reassessment of the cap lifting, expressing concerns about the negative effects on congestion and driver pay.
The TLC, on the other hand, has highlighted that approximately 90% of the new plate applications are being submitted by individuals. TLC Chair David Do sees the new electric plates as an opportunity for drivers who currently rent TLC-plated cars to own their own vehicle, rather than paying high weekly rental rates.
Q: How many applications for new electric rideshare plates did the TLC receive?
A: The TLC received over 9,600 applications.
Q: What was the reason behind the surge in applications?
A: Drivers rushed to get TLC plates for their electric vehicles before the Monday deadline.
Q: Was there a cap on rideshare vehicles in the city?
A: Since 2018, there had been a loose cap on the number of rideshare vehicles, which was lifted in October 2021.
Q: Why was the cap temporarily reinstated?
A: A court order required the city to pause accepting applications pending a ruling in a lawsuit filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
Q: What percentage of the rideshare fleet in New York City is currently electric?
A: Less than 3% of the fleet is currently electric, totaling around 2,200 cars.