NYC is First U.S. City to Commit to Making Rideshare Fleet Entirely Zero-Emission or Wheelchair Accessible; Fulfills Major Commitment in Mayor Adams’ “Working People’s Agenda”
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner David Do on Wednesday, October 18, 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.