Passage of “Green Rides”: TLC will accept new license applications for electric vehicles (EVs).

 New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner David Do today celebrated the passage of the “Green Rides” rule, requiring the city’s rideshare fleet to be either zero-emission or wheelchair accessible by 2030, following a unanimous vote by the TLC. Announced in January 2023 as part of Mayor Adams’ “Working People’s Agenda,” the Green Rides program makes New York City the first U.S. city to commit to transitioning all for-hire vehicle rides to be either zero-emission or wheelchair accessible — without imposing any new costs on drivers. To help make this transition possible, beginning tomorrow morning, the TLC will accept new license applications for electric vehicles (EVs).

 “With the passage of this historic rule and the immediate release of electric vehicle licenses, we are delivering on a promise made to New Yorkers earlier this year and hitting the road towards a more sustainable and accessible future,” said Mayor Adams. “At the other end of this trip is a greener, more inclusive city with healthier air, a cleaner environment, and more economic opportunities for working-class New Yorkers. I’d like to thank all the commissioners at TLC for embracing this bold initiative and making sure New York City continues to lead the nation in sustainable innovation.”

 “Green Rides is a critical cornerstone of our broader work to reduce carbon emissions, making it easier to breathe for all New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi. “This program brings more charging infrastructure in locations that work for our city’s professional TLC drivers and solidifies that wheelchair accessible vehicles are a permanent and growing part of our for-hire fleet.”

 “This gradual, measured transition will benefit the environment, the city’s rideshare drivers, and anyone needing an accessible vehicle,” said TLC Commissioner Do. “It is designed to ensure that electric vehicles can join the fleet in tandem with the development of charging infrastructure and price-parity with gas-powered vehicles. Simultaneously, it reinforces our commitment to accessibility.”

 “The unanimous vote by the TLC allows us to check another PlaNYC goal off our list,” said Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson. “This new rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, creating a healthier New York City for all. This will also help us advance our important goal of increasing EV charging infrastructure.”

 Under the new rule, the city’s high-volume for-hire services — Uber and Lyft, which currently operate fleets of approximately 78,000 vehicles combined — will need to dispatch 100 percent of their trips to either zero-emission vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030. The rule sets annual benchmarks beginning at the end of 2024, when five percent of rideshare trips must be either zero-emission or wheelchair accessible — a responsible first step that has already been achieved. The requirement increases to 15 percent at the end of 2025, then 25 percent at the end of 2026, and then by an additional 20 percent each year until 2030.

 The rule codifies Mayor Adams’ plan, supported by Uber and Lyft, to electrify the city’s high-volume for-hire vehicles. It also accounts for the rapid rise of electric vehicles and the city’s commitment to enable a significant increase in necessary charging infrastructure as part of Mayor Adams’ “PlanNYC: Getting Sustainability Done.” As most electric vehicle chargers will be built by the private sector, the transition to electric rideshare vehicles accelerated by Green Rides provides a significant economic incentive to accelerate that work. Particularly important to rideshare drivers will be the installation of DC fast chargers (also known as Level 3 chargers), which can charge an electric vehicle in as little as 20 minutes. Brooklyn-based Revel alone is in the process of tripling the amount of fast chargers available in New York City by the end of 2023.

 To help meet the Green Rides goals, the TLC has lifted its pause on new licenses for electric for-hire vehicles, following the overwhelming demand for 1,000 electric licenses that the agency released in March and were gone within two minutes as well as the TLC’s most recent For-Hire Vehicle License Review study on the impact of the number of TLC-licensed vehicles. As is currently the case for wheelchair accessible vehicles, starting tomorrow morning, electric vehicle licenses will be available for any interested and qualified parties for the foreseeable future. Opening electric vehicle licenses will provide drivers currently leasing TLC vehicles with the opportunity to own their own business, and it will help foster competitive rates in the leasing market. The TLC strongly encourages anyone applying for an EV license to have a sound financial plan, utilize state and federal incentives, and consider the availability of charging infrastructure in their area.

 “Electric vehicles are a key component in driving down our city’s carbon emissions,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers. “The TLC’s vote to have all for-hire vehicles be zero-emission or wheelchair accessible within seven years continues to build critical momentum in getting us all to our final destination: a greener, more sustainable New York City.”  

 “As chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I’m focused on creating a greener, more accessible, and equitable city for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, chair, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “I’m glad to see the TLC take this critical step by investing in both accessible and zero-emissions transportation with the Green Rides program. New York City is leading the way in building charging infrastructure to enable this transition to the future, and I look forward to seeing the progress made over the coming years.”

 “While others make suggestions, Mayor Adams and the TLC are taking action. The Green Rides initiative and new EV licenses will put New York City on the forefront of EV adoption. Other cities should take note of the environmental and public health victory that was won today,” said Frank Reig, co-founder and CEO, Revel. “As a Brooklyn-born company, Revel is proud to provide the city’s only all-electric, all-employee rideshare service, and to be building the public fast charging infrastructure — in the South Bronx, Harlem, Maspeth, Red Hook and more — that will make electrification of New York’s entire rideshare industry possible.”

 “The New York League of Conservation Voters is thrilled to see the ‘Green Rides’ initiative adopted and the resumption of licenses for EVs in New York City’s for-hire vehicle fleet,” said Julie Tighe, president, New York League of Conservation Voters. “Today’s announcement is an important step toward reducing air pollution and cutting emissions from the transportation sector, which is key to fighting climate change and meeting the city and state’s emission reduction goals. We applaud Mayor Adams and Commissioner Do for introducing this forward-thinking initiative and for their commitment to creating a greener, healthier New York City, including a 100% zero-emission for-hire vehicle fleet by 2030.”

 “As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impacts climate change can have on our city, and if we are ever to reverse its most extreme effects, we must work together,” said Larry Gallegos, public policy manager, Lyft. “Three years ago, Lyft pledged to be 100 percent EV by the end of 2030, and we are excited to partner with the city of New York on our journey. Combined with smart, targeted investments in incentives and charging infrastructure, the City’s plan will help tear down the barriers that prevent drivers from making the switch to electric and accelerate an equitable city-wide transition to EVs for rideshare.”

 “We applaud steps taken today by the city to reduce carbon emissions, an important goal we share,” said Hayley Prim, senior policy manager, Uber. “Allowing renters to drive their own EV will not only help improve New York’s air quality, it will significantly reduce driver costs.”

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