Free taxi and bus services are coming to NYC for the first time in more than a decade.
The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission announced today that its drivers will be paid a $10.50 hourly wage and $1.50 an hour for all trips beginning in January.
The new fee will take effect immediately.
Free taxi service operator Uber will begin accepting New York City taxi permits in the next two months.
The service allows riders to hail a taxi or ride in a limousiner or van at a discounted rate.
For now, the taxi service is only available to passengers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York’s other two boroughs.
The commission will be working to find a long-term partner to offer services in New Jersey and Connecticut.
The agency will soon launch a free shuttle service between the city’s airport and several surrounding communities, including the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village and Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
The commission announced the program on Wednesday.
Its board chairman, Eric Schmitt, said the fee represents a “significant cost savings to the city and its residents.”
Uber drivers will receive $10 an hour and will also be required to take a standardized test.
Uber says it will offer drivers the same standard test as taxis.
The company says it is the only ride-hailing company offering free service in the city.
Schmitt said the commission is committed to expanding the number of free and discounted rides in New Yorker cities.
The New York Taxi Workers Association has been lobbying the commission for the program, he said.
“The goal is to make New York the most competitive market for ride-sharing,” Schmitt said.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has praised the program.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Kalanik said that the service would be a great example of a new type of taxi service that has been a big draw for the city: “This is a great way for the public to get out of their cars, and have a good time.”
Uber and other ride-share services are competing for business in the ride-service business.
Uber drivers have faced a series of lawsuits over alleged wage theft and unsafe working conditions.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently accused Uber of wage theft in San Francisco.
Uber is fighting the charges in court.