New York City to Become First Large City to Have Rideshare Fleet Entirely Either Zero-Emissions or Wheelchair Accessible
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner David Do this week announced the newly proposed rules for “Green Rides,” which requires the transition of New York City’s rideshare fleet to either zero-emission vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030. This initiative lays crucial groundwork in creating a cleaner and more accessible transportation system for New York City. The proposed rules will also make New York City the first large city in the world to have a rideshare fleet that is entirely either zero-emissions or wheelchair accessible.
The Green Rides program and this set of proposed rules delivers on a commitment from Mayor Adams’ “Working People’s Agenda” to electrify the high-volume for-hire vehicle fleet in New York City without imposing new costs on individual drivers.
“When it comes to driving towards sustainable and inclusive transportation alternatives, New York City isn’t just along for the ride — in fact, we are leading the way,” said Mayor Adams. “By championing the integration of zero-emission vehicles and wheelchair accessible transportation, we are cutting dirty emissions and guaranteeing equitable transportation opportunities for every New Yorker. Green Rides marks significant progress towards establishing an environmentally conscious for-hire transportation system spanning all five boroughs. This transformative shift will serve as a turning point, propelling New York City towards a greener, cleaner, healthier future.”
“As Mayor Adams made clear in his State of the City address, lowering transportation emissions takes bold action. The rules proposed today will make New York City the first large city in the world to have a rideshare fleet in which every vehicle is either zero-emissions or wheelchair accessible,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “TLC’s well-considered proposal is the first step towards mobility that is both convenient and sustainable.”
“The most exciting aspect of this initiative is that it not only transforms the existing fleet into one that is cleaner and more accessible but also provides a much-needed boost in development of city’s charging infrastructure,” said TLC Chair David Do. “Green Rides will have long-term benefits not just for TLC drivers but every driver in the city seeking to make the shift to an electric vehicle.”
The newly proposed rules provide a comprehensive roadmap for achieving the bold goals of Green Rides over the next six years, with yearly benchmarks that are practical, implementable, and designed to ensure a smooth and efficient transition. Starting in 2024, the city will require 5 percent of all high-volume for-hire trips, including those with Uber and Lyft, to be dispatched to zero-emission vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles — with that benchmark rising to 15 percent in 2025 and 25 percent in 2026. As the market evolves and electric vehicle prices become more affordable, the requirements will increase yearly by 20 percentage points until the end of the decade, reaching 100 percent in 2030.
This transition will play a major role in advancing PlaNYC, New York City’s long-term strategic climate plan that highlights efforts the city is taking to protect New Yorkers from climate threats, improve quality of life, and build the green economy. In the plan, the Adams administration lays out actions the city is taking to achieve its goal to cut transportation emissions in half by 2030. According to a TLC study, the agency’s licensed vehicles currently contribute to approximately 4 percent of the city’s vehicle emissions.
Along with Green Rides, the city is working as part of PlaNYC to ensure that every New Yorker lives within 2.5 miles of an electric vehicle charging station by 2035 and electrify school buses and the city’s fleet, while pursuing legislative changes to require that private parking garages and lots make electric vehicle charging available. Both Uber and Lyft, which together comprise New York City’s high-volume for-hire fleet of approximately 78,000 vehicles, have committed to transitioning to a greener fleet by 2030.
Existing federal and state incentives are expected to encourage purchases of electric vehicles and drive the market towards price parity between zero-emission vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles by 2027. Additionally, state regulations dictate that all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035. These financial and legal forces, along with a proven demand for TLC vehicle licenses, will help rideshare drivers shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options.
A public hearing on the proposed rules is scheduled for September 20, 2023.
“Electric vehicle adoption is a crucial piece of reducing New York City’s emissions. We are working closely with the private sector to equitably increase public charging access and inspire greater adoption and sustainable mode shifts across industries,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We applaud Mayor Adams and Commissioner Do for their work to eliminate vehicle emissions from the rideshare fleet.”
“New York City is tackling climate change head-on by smartly reducing emissions from our buildings, our waste stream, and our transportation sector through TLC’s Green Rides proposal,” said New York City Chief Climate Officer and New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Green Rides demonstrates that taking climate action can result in cleaner air, better mobility, good jobs, and improvements to our daily lives.”
“Green Rides’ bold goal of transitioning to zero-emission or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030 helps advance the PlaNYC goal of helping New Yorkers who must drive to drive electric,” said Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Acting Executive Director Victoria Cerullo. “The Green Rides roadmap takes advantage of unprecedented new incentives for purchasing electric vehicles and will help expand charging infrastructure in the city — proving that TLC is getting sustainability done now.”
“I love the EV. We save so much money on gas. I feel good about the change [from an internal combustion engine vehicle],” said Chris Velez, TLC-licensee EV driver and owner. “Passengers love that it is very quiet, and I get a lot of compliments. I hope the TLC releases more EV plates.”
“New York has always been a leader on green innovation,” said Larry Gallegos, public policy manager, Lyft. “That’s why we are excited to partner with the city on its ambitious plan to electrify our industry. Through smart, targeted investments in incentives and charging infrastructure, we can help accelerate electric vehicle adoption and build a cleaner and more sustainable New York for all.”
“We applaud the TLC’s ambition for reducing emissions, an important goal we share,” said Josh Gold, senior director for public policy and communications, Uber. “While there’s much more to do to make this a reality, we look forward to working with the TLC to achieve zero-emissions in New York City in a way that benefits drivers, riders, and the city.”
“Our future is green, and New York City is once again helping lead the way in innovative solutions that will serve as a benchmark for cities around the nation to provide viable, cleaner, and more sustainable transportation solutions,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I have long championed zero-emission transportation alternatives and am grateful to Mayor Adams and TLC Chairman Do for today’s launch announcing the Green Rides initiative, a forward-thinking transportation solution a call to action to fight the climate crisis.”
“I applaud New York City Mayor Eric Adams and TLC Commissioner David Do on launching the Green Rides initiative,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Not only will we achieve sustainability and a cleaner transportation system, but we will meet the needs of everyday riders while protecting the environment.”
“This change marks a historic leap toward a greener and more equitable city. The tens of thousands of for-hire cars that will transition to zero-emissions vehicles will greatly reduce New York’s daily carbon footprint, and the cars that opt to accommodate wheelchairs will help make transit more accessible citywide,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “This decision paves the way for a thriving, emission-free New York for generations to come and sets an example for other cities’ rideshare infrastructure.”
“The climate disasters we’ve seen this summer alone are an urgent call to action for all of us to do more to protect our environment. Electrifying the vehicles crisscrossing New York is essential to the sustainable city we need to build,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Thank you to the TLC for setting a new standard with the Green Rides initiative.”
“As global temperatures continue to reach record highs and the number of weather-related disasters continues to proliferate, it’s clearer than ever we must leave no stone unturned in addressing climate change,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “The policy set forth today is a big step forward in the effort to reduce the production of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. This work, however, must be done in close communication and coordination with Queens residents who drive for-hire vehicles to make ends meet. I look forward to working with the mayor’s office and the TLC to ensure that happens.”
“New Yorkers deserve clean air,” said New York City Councilmember Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “Greening our for-hire vehicle fleet will reduce emissions and benefit communities citywide. I thank Commissioner Do and the TLC for their focus on the city’s footprint as we continue to work toward a carbon-neutral New York.”
“As chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Resiliency & Waterfronts, I am thrilled to share my excitement about the Green Rides initiative. This policy sets a gold standard for innovation, paving the way for other cities across the country to follow suit,” said New York City Councilmember James F. Gennaro. “By steering our high-volume for-hire fleet towards zero emissions, we not only redefine urban mobility, but also reaffirm our commitment to a greener, more sustainable New York City. I’d like to thank Mayor Adams and TLC for taking the lead on this visionary initiative.”
“New York City must be a leader in the transition to clean energy,” New York City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. “Today’s newly announced proposal takes a huge step towards drastically decreasing emissions from vehicles. I commend the mayor and the TLC for ensuring accessibility and sustainability are core tenets of the nation-leading proposal. We must use all the tools at our disposal to combat climate change — converting the entire rideshare fleet to zero-emission vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030 is a testament to the city’s commitment to building a greener future.”
“The Green Rides initiative is not only a positive step toward reducing air pollution and cutting emissions from the transportation sector — which is key to fighting climate change — it’s also a shining example of how strong climate legislation at all levels of government are combining with market forces to shift the economics in favor of clean energy,” said Julie Tighe, president, New York League of Conservation Voters. “The New York League of Conservation Voters applauds Mayor Adams and Commissioner Do for introducing this forward-thinking initiative and for their commitment to getting stuff done that will not only benefit our environment but also contribute to a healthier, more livable city for all.”
“The TLC’s Green Rides Initiative brings rideshare companies on board in the fight against climate pollution since the transportation sector is the second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City, with most of those emissions coming from passenger cars,” said Mary Barber, state director, New York and New Jersey for Environmental Defense Fund. “The Initiative’s aggressive yet achievable goals set a high bar for climate action in the city and region.”
“A cleaner future for our city is a vision we support as drivers and New Yorkers, and it starts with bold initiatives like this,” said Brendan Sexton, president, Independent Drivers Guild. “We appreciate the mayor promising in his Working People’s Agenda unveiled in January of this year that our city’s hardworking drivers wouldn’t bear the cost of this transition. New York has a proud history of leading the nation in accessibility and sustainability initiatives as well as worker protections. We look forward to working closely with Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Joshi, and Commissioner Do to ensure the necessary infrastructure and financial support for a successful Green Rides transition for all.”
“Thank you, Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Joshi, TLC Chair Do, and the many other public leaders who made the Green Rides initiative reality. This ambitious plan to electrify the rideshare industry will help make EV adoption easier on all New Yorkers. It is a climate and quality of life playbook ready for mayors nationwide to follow,” said Frank Reig, co-founder and CEO, Revel. “As New York’s first all-electric rideshare operator and leading provider of public fast charging, Revel is committed to building reliable EV infrastructure near where rideshare drivers live and work, so the transition to electric isn’t just greener, but more accessible and better for drivers’ wallets too.”
“As part of New York’s all-of-the-above strategy to mitigate climate change, the city’s Green Rides initiative is an important complement to fast, frequent, reliable, and accessible public transit service,” said Betsy Plum, executive director, Rider Alliance. “Electrifying the high-volume for-hire fleet while making the most of our subways, buses, and paratransit will help expedite our transition to a zero-emission transportation system.”
Courtesy of the City of New York.
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