In 2018, the California legislature passed SB1014, The California Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program: Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). The goal is to promote the transition from fossil fuel-based combustion engines to electric vehicles that can be powered by renewable energy, to fight the effects of the growing climate crisis. The bill empowered the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create regulations to guide this transition, and in 2021 they adopted a regulation requiring that all ride hailing companies transition to a pure electric fleet by 2030. This means that if you are a driver, you will need to have an electric vehicle by 2030, or you will no longer be eligible to drive for Lyft, Uber, or any other rideshare company in the state of California.
In 2020, RDU raised our concerns as drivers, that requiring conversion to ZEVs without giving us specific financial support would make it near impossible for most drivers to make the transition, meaning thousands of us would lose our jobs. We joined with other environmental groups and labor groups and were invited by CARB and CPUC to voice drivers’ concerns and ideas for change.
RDU created a set of principles to ensure that any state incentives for conversion to ZEVs pay drivers directly, rather than having that money go through Lyft or Uber. We are also advocating that the state has data transparency with Lyft and Uber, ensuring that they are both held accountable for upholding the law without it harming drivers.
As drivers, we believe in the mission of SB1014; climate change is a crisis that affects all communities in California, but a transition away from fossil fuels must not come at the expense of vulnerable communities who are already struggling, including the community of rideshare drivers.
Please also read the newsletter article from RDU Vice President Alvaro Bolainez:
As part of our advocacy, RDU is working in partnership with University of California Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center. The goal is to help policymakers understand the current working conditions of rideshare drivers, and think through policies that would ensure that the switch to electric cars doesn’t harm the rideshare community. The state needs to answer questions like:
UC Berkeley is looking for driver volunteers who are interested in sharing their experience with the research team and the potential opportunities and challenges we face in the transition
If you are interested, click below to sign up to be part of the focus groups