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Uber and Lyft rides in New York City just got more expensive

You’re now paying more for your ridesharing trips in New York City.

Anyone taking an Uber, Lyft, Juno or Via ride from February 1 will pay more for their trips following the implementation of a number of new rules at the start of this month.

For example, riders must now fork out for a new state congestion surcharge for trips in Manhattan that take place south of 96th Street. The fee means an extra $2.75 added to each journey, or $0.75 if it’s a carpool ride, with the cash going to the coffers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Some trips will also incur additional costs in the case where a trip begins in New York City and ends outside its five boroughs. The new rules stipulate that drivers should be compensated for their return trip back to the City without a rider, so some trips that leave the city will now come with an added fee called the Out of Town Surcharge. It’s not clear how much extra money riders will have to pay.

Higher driver wages equals higher fares

Fare increases have also been introduced in response to higher wage costs following new rules that alter the pay structure for ridesharing drivers. The changes have been put in place by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission and guarantee New York’s 70,000 or so ridesharing drivers a minimum wage of $17.22 per hour after expenses ($27.86 before expenses), though Lyft and Juno are protesting over how the figure has been calculated.

The new pay rates come off the back of a two-year campaign by the non-profit Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) of New York City, which said that until now ridesharing drivers have been “struggling to get by … on $11.90 per hour.”

The new pay floor will increase drivers’ annual pay by over $9,600, the IDG said.

Uber hasn’t specified by how much it will be increasing fares, saying only that it would be raising prices “to account for the implications of this new rule.”

Commenting on the changes, the company said it’s “working hard” to ensure that rides remain “as affordable as possible,” though at the same time it said it “fully supports the spirit of this rule” that brings drivers better pay.

But according to Bloomberg, a number of Uber drivers in New York City could still face challenges as “some offers of bonus pay may no longer be available,” while from this spring the company’s premium UberBlack service, which pays a higher rate than its basic UberX service, will be restricted to those drivers with a customer rating of 4.85 or above (out of 5).

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Trevor Mogg
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