A new analysis of Census data shows that Uber’s expansion into upstate New York could significantly depress wages across the taxi and for-­‐hire vehicle industry. As Uber floods the upstate market, its unregulated supply will likely outstrip rider demand and make it harder for all drivers to earn a living wage. This is probably not the impact state officials have in mind when they say upstate ridesharing would be “good for the economy.”1 But as lawmakers discuss whether to allow Uber and other ridesharing companies to operate statewide, they must consider what that would mean for the future of wages upstate. Uber has promised to create 13,000 jobs across upstate New York.2 Aside from a blatant lack of evidence supporting this claim, the company has not addressed how its influx of part-­‐time drivers would affect overall driver income. An analysis of major metropolitan areas shows that Uber’s growth in these areas was accompanied by a precipitous drop in wages. For example, the number of taxi and for-­‐hire-­‐ vehicle drivers in the Los Angeles metro area increased 209 percent between 2010 and 2014. Over the same period, average income per driver decreased 24 percent. If Uber begins operating in major upstate New York metro areas, the decline in driver wages could be devastating. Ø Wages for taxi and for-­‐hire drivers could decrease by an average of 21 percent, or around $5,880 per year. Ø Annual income for drivers could fall below $30,000 per year — and in some cases, below $15,000 per year. (For comparison, a $15 minimum wage equates to approximately $31,000 per year.) Approving a statewide license for Uber and other ridesharing companies could put this sizable portion of the upstate economy at risk. As long as state lawmakers remain focused on securing a living wage for all New Yorkers, they should be equally concerned about how Uber’s growth could jeopardize that goal.

 

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