Lower Manhattan subway shooting prompts TLC to consider raising pay of for-hire vehicle drivers

NEW YORK — The tragic shooting death of the Goldman Sachs researcher on a Q train has become an unusual political football, as the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering increasing the pay for the drivers of for-hire vehicles.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the victim was apparently on the subway because Uber became too expensive.

In addition the absolute horror of the random shooting of Daniel Enriquez on his way to brunch on the Q train, and all the laws that were broken, there is now the law of unintended consequences.

Because, according to his partner, Adam Pollack, the Goldman Sachs researcher “wasn’t a subway person.” He started taking the train two weeks earlier because he was tired of paying the high price of an Uber.

The unintended consequence is that Enriquez’s death is now playing a roll in whether the TLC should raise the pay for the men and women who drive for-hire vehicles. The argument of companies like Uber is that raises should be limited because it will only increase the cost of their service.

“We would love to get your thoughts on how we might adjust the way TLC calculates driver pay that still insure drivers are properly and fairly compensated,” Acting TLC Commissioner Ryan Wanttaja said.  

And a number of community groups are joining the fray, submitting testimony at a TLC commission rate hearing that rising crime on the subway — the Sunset Park shooting as well as the Q train killing — is an argument for not doing anything that would result in a fare hike.

Haitian-Americans United for Progress pointed out that many members of its community were essential workers during the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, with increasing frequency, we are opting out of subway and bus service out of concerns about both public health and crime. We understand Mayor Adams is working to make public transit as safe as possible, but until that confidence is felt, ride-share is often the only option,” said Elsie Saint Louis, the group’s executive director.

Kramer asked Mayor Eric Adams how he feels about it.

“I don’t want to speculate on what they’re doing. Whatever method of transportation we have should be affordable and should be safe. Our subway system is the centralized method of moving throughout the city and there are many people who can’t afford to take Uber,” Adams said.

And given what happened on the Q train, the mayor made it clear that his focus is on subway safety and reassuring riders about mass transit.

A spokesperson for Uber told CBS2 that according to the company’s calculations, Uber drivers already average $31 per hour. It is unclear how soon the TLC will rule.

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