NYC set to become first large city to have rideshare fleet that is entirely zero-emissions or wheelchair accessible by 2030

Aug. 17, 2023
The initiative, known as Green Rides, lays crucial groundwork in creating a cleaner and more accessible transportation system for NYC.

New York City (NYC) is requiring the transition of the city’s rideshare fleet to either zero-emission vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030. The initiative, known as Green Rides, lays crucial groundwork in creating a cleaner and more accessible transportation system for NYC. The proposed rules will also make NYC the first large city in the world to have a rideshare fleet that is either zero-emissions or wheelchair accessible. .

The Green Rides program and the set of proposed rules delivers on a commitment from NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ Working People’s Agenda to electrify the high-volume for-hire vehicle fleet in NYC without imposing new costs on individual drivers.

“When it comes to driving towards sustainable and inclusive transportation alternatives, New York City isn’t just along for the ride — in fact, we are leading the way,” said Mayor Adams. “By championing the integration of zero-emission vehicles and wheelchair accessible transportation, we are cutting dirty emissions and guaranteeing equitable transportation opportunities for every New Yorker. Green Rides marks significant progress towards establishing an environmentally conscious for-hire transportation system spanning all five boroughs. This transformative shift will serve as a turning point, propelling New York City towards a greener, cleaner, healthier future.”

The newly proposed rules provide a comprehensive roadmap for achieving the bold goals of Green Rides over the next six years, with yearly benchmarks that are practical, implementable and designed to ensure a smooth and efficient transition. Starting in 2024, the city will require five percent of all high-volume for-hire trips, including those with Uber and Lyft, to be dispatched to zero-emission vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles — with that benchmark rising to 15 percent in 2025 and 25 percent in 2026. As the market evolves and electric vehicle prices become more affordable, the requirements will increase yearly by 20 percentage points until the end of the decade, reaching 100 percent in 2030.

The transition will play a major role in advancing PlaNYC, NYC’s long-term strategic climate plan that highlights efforts the city is taking to protect New Yorkers from climate threats, improve quality of life and build the green economy. In the plan, the Adams administration lays out actions the city is taking to achieve its goal to cut transportation emissions in half by 2030. According to a New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) study, the agency’s licensed vehicles currently contribute to approximately four percent of the city’s vehicle emissions.

Along with Green Rides, the city is working as part of PlaNYC to ensure that every New Yorker lives within 2.5 miles of an electric vehicle charging station by 2035 and electrify school buses and the city’s fleet, while pursuing legislative changes to require that private parking garages and lots make electric vehicle charging available. Both Uber and Lyft, which together comprise New York City’s high-volume for-hire fleet of approximately 78,000 vehicles, have committed to transitioning to a greener fleet by 2030.

“As Mayor Adams made clear in his State of the City address, lowering transportation emissions takes bold action. The rules proposed today will make New York City the first large city in the world to have a rideshare fleet in which every vehicle is either zero-emissions or wheelchair accessible,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations for NYC Meera Joshi. “TLC’s well-considered proposal is the first step towards mobility that is both convenient and sustainable.”

Existing federal and state incentives are expected to encourage purchases of electric vehicles and drive the market towards price parity between zero-emission vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles by 2027. Additionally, state regulations dictate that all new passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035. These financial and legal forces, along with a proven demand for TLC vehicle licenses, will help rideshare drivers shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options.

“The most exciting aspect of this initiative is that it not only transforms the existing fleet into one that is cleaner and more accessible but also provides a much-needed boost in development of city’s charging infrastructure,” said TLC Chair David Do. “Green Rides will have long-term benefits not just for TLC drivers, but every driver in the city seeking to make the shift to an electric vehicle.”

“Electric vehicle adoption is a crucial piece of reducing New York City’s emissions. We are working closely with the private sector to equitably increase public charging access and inspire greater adoption and sustainable mode shifts across industries,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We applaud Mayor Adams and Commissioner Do for their work to eliminate vehicle emissions from the rideshare fleet.”

A public hearing on the proposed rules is scheduled for Sept. 20, 2023.