The people Uber’s New York City license ban has hurt the most

We spoke to dozens of people affected by the ride-hailing ban for this report and found an overwhelmingly grim picture. Here’s what they shared.

In late September, the initial grace period passed for Uber and Lyft drivers whose licenses had expired. Soon after, and following a surge in the number of applications, a new regulation kicked in: Transport companies could not renew licenses until a provisional license was issued for the same purposes, preventing service providers from renewing.

“We saw people losing their licenses, unable to get new ones, not being able to work,” said Chris Day, an author of CityLab’s recent project City Shmooze, a large-scale examination of how they take to Uber, and the frustrations and successes that stem from their service. “If they can’t drive the Uber for any additional salary, how are they going to continue to make a living?”

According to Uber, which continues to issue all drivers a New York City license, that’s not exactly the case.

“These people are not unemployed. They’re not stuck on their couch with nothing to do,” said Matt Zadeh, a former Uber driver and author of The Uber Files.

Still, for many drivers, Uber’s statistics don’t take into account the difficulties that arise when you struggle to obtain a license, or how trying to hold down a job to supplement income can place a strain on your finances.

[] Uber took some of the burden off drivers, like the suspension of the moratorium, by allowing them to travel off-book during non-peak hours to supplement their income. This was successful in some instances, but in many others, it didn’t give drivers much of a work break to scrape together some extra cash. Because drivers were able to catch up on their commute, sometimes within a matter of days, these pilots — officially from September to January — weren’t enough to save them from the financial peril that they’d previously been in.

“[] . . .a whole lot of these people are going to be left with no transportation — with a lot of people in a tough financial situation because they can’t get off the couch,” said “Emergency Girlfriend,” a writer for City Shmooze who has helped hundreds of people who lost their New York licenses due to the moratorium. “It’s not an unreasonable concern. There are a lot of people who had this [license] , and just paid for it, and they can’t get it renewed.”

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