Uber, Lyft Drivers Demand $28 Minimum Hourly Wage During Rally At San Diego Airport
Drivers are demanding a $28 per hour minimum rate and were urging people at the airport to join them in boycotting Uber and Lyft for a day. Despite calls for a boycott, there were a number of rideshare drivers out picking up passengers.
Uber and Lyft driver John Wagner was at the airport Wednesday dropping off riders.
"A driver has to put in a lot of hours and really dedicate to this to make any kind of living with this," Wagner said. "People that used to do this part-time and had a substantial second income — that’s not happening anymore. A lot of drivers are really struggling."
Some said it is almost not worth it to be a rideshare driver, especially with gas prices increasing recently.
"It’s just frustrating — the whole thing is frustrating," said Uber and Lyft driver John Frazier. "I have to keep my car running, my car has to be inspected, I have to buy extra insurance on top of my regular insurance."
The protest at the airport comes as Uber is looking to go public, which is expected to bring in billions of dollars.
"That money will be used for operating purposes," said San Diego State Finance Professor Nikhil Varaiya. "Since the company is losing money — it’s cash flow is negative — so part of the cash they get from the IPO is helping defray the losses."
Like Lyft, Uber has yet to become profitable.
"For them to pay the drivers more they somehow have to hope that the drivers can get more customers," Varaiya said. "That’s the only way. If they’re paying the drivers more but not increasing revenue, then they’re losses are apparently going to get even bigger."
Uber said in a statement to KPBS: "Drivers are at the heart of our service ─ we can’t succeed without them ─ and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road. Whether it’s more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully-funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers."
A Lyft spokesman issued a similar statement" "Lyft drivers’ hourly earnings have increased 7% over the last two years, and they have earned more than $14 billion since we launched. Over 75% drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement existing jobs. On average, Lyft drivers earn over $20 per hour. We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we’re constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community."
Uber and Lyft driver Wagner said he feels Uber does not value their drivers enough.
"As the saying goes, 'drivers come a dime a dozen,' but, when you’re a driver, can no longer make a living and you no longer have any drivers ─ what kind of business do you have at this point?"
The rally in San Diego was one of a handful of protests across the country.