Good Question: Why did I get a ‘Black Car Fund’ surcharge?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A viewer named Deborah sent News10NBC’s Brennan Somers this Good Question about catching a ride.

She asked: I recently rode an Uber from Gates to Honeoye Falls. He had a black car, black interior with almost black tinting and on my bill there was a charge for a "Black Car Fund." Have you ever heard of such a thing?

The Black Car Fund is real. It’s actually been around for more than two decades after the state created it. The Good Question team spoke with Lionel Morales. He works for the BCF.

News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: What is the group? What is the mission?
Lionel Morales: So the BCF came out more than 20 years ago with a purpose of providing workers comp to a segment of the population that is generally working as independent contractors and is not entitled to any types of employee protections.

Who exactly does the group serve?

The BCF has member bases. These are companies working in NY that do more than 90% of businesses on a non-cash basis and own less than 50% of cars sent out. That’s the exact business model for apps like Uber and Lyft. If you’re driving for them you’re covered, but not if you’re a taxi or livery service driver.

As for that surcharge for the BCF Deborah asked about, it’s currently 3%. Ride-sharing companies will have it itemized on the receipt.

Morales: Any member base that sends out a ride is subject to a passenger surcharge. Passengers pay this fee on top of the normal fare. That money is collected by bases and is remitted to the BCF on a monthly basis. We use that money to pay workers comp coverage as well as additional health and related benefits.


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