Uber is lifting restrictions on drivers in NYC in response to coronavirus

NYC First Major City To Attempt To Cap Number Of Ride-Hailing Services Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber will stop blocking drivers in New York City from signing on to its app, which it has been doing since fall 2019. The company says it wants to give drivers one less thing to worry about amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Uber began restricting drivers’ access to the app after the city passed a law in late 2018 requiring ride-hail companies to pay drivers at least $17.22 an hour after expenses. The pay formula uses a so-called “utilization rate,” which accounts for the share of time a driver spends with passengers in their vehicles compared to time spent idle and waiting for a fare.

The rules penalize companies for enabling too much car traffic. The higher a company’s utilization rate, the less it has to pay drivers to meet the…

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