New York City offers to hire out-of-work Lyft, Uber, and taxi drivers to deliver food to the elderly

Uber NYC

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Uber car service on the streets of New York.

New York City is offering to hire gig workers who are licensed with the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), like Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers, to help with delivery work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The TLC sent an email to licensees on Monday, which was seen by Business Insider, saying it is looking for drivers to deliver food specifically to the elderly, who need to say home throughout the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.

The move comes as a lifeline to gig economy workers, who have seen demand dwindle over the past few weeks.

"You are a top priority for the TLC and we recognize that you are among the hardest hit by this public health crisis," the TLC wrote in the email. "As we look at all possible ways to help you and as we assess needs citywide, we ask for your assistance and participation in the City's response."

The TLC said the need for drivers will initially be small, but it expects it to increase as delivery requests do. Drivers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. The work will be paid - $15 per hour - plus reimbursement for gas mileage and tolls.

In New York City, Uber, Lyft, and Via drivers make a minimum of $27.86 per hour, with an allocation for expenses. The expenses lower earnings to about $17.22 an hour, according to TechCrunch.

"New York City's for-hire vehicle drivers have seen their earnings plummet amid this pandemic," said Brendan Sexton, the executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate representing the city's tens of thousands of ride-hail drivers. "Drivers are ready to step up to help the city in this time of great need."

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