The city is planning to give out 1,000 for-hire vehicle licenses to drivers of electric cars, according to the Taxi & Limousine Commission.
It will be the first time since 2018 that the city is issuing new licenses to for-hire vehicles.
“We are excited to be issuing these new licenses, which will encourage development of the city’s [electric vehicle] infrastructure and help move our city towards a more sustainable future,” TLC Commissioner David Do said in a statement.
The TLC said the specific details surrounding which companies and people are eligible for the licenses will be determined at a later date.
For-hire vehicle trips have steadily increased since dropping 80% between February and April of 2020 — from 23,398,215 to 4,791,960 — and they are now nearing pre-pandemic levels, according to the TLC.
“With vehicle licenses continuing to decrease, passenger wait times remaining steady and trips and driver pay continuing to increase, TLC has determined that the industry can absorb new vehicles without undermining the gains that the license pause has achieved over the past four years,” the TLC wrote in their August license review.
The TLC instructed those who are interested in the new electric vehicle licenses to hold off on purchasing a vehicle until the commission announces more details.
The 1,000 new licenses for electric vehicles will create more competition for taxi medallion owners in the city.
The taxi drivers’ union, lenders and the city just came to an agreement that will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in relief for medallion owners as the influx of Ubers and Lyfts, plus the COVID-19 pandemic, has sunk the value of the medallions.
Taxi medallions were valued at more than $1 million each in 2014, but years later, the value is now a fraction of that.