Published: Wed, May 08, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

As Uber cruises towards $90bn float, the backlash from drivers intensifies

As Uber cruises towards $90bn float, the backlash from drivers intensifies

In anticipation of a national strike by Uber and Lyft drivers Wednesday, airport officials are reminding local travelers about Logan's other transportation options, such as the Logan Express bus and the MBTA's Blue and Silver lines (the latter of which is free for those departing the airport). Today, he will join thousands of fellow drivers in an global boycott of the taxi app in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions.

Lyft Inc's quarterly revenue rose 95% and topped market expectations on Tuesday as the ride-sharing company reported its first results after going public, days before rival Uber plans its own IPO.

Numerous drivers' coalitions were planning actions, including Rideshare Drivers United.

"Uber and Lyft wrote in their (regulatory) filings that they think they pay drivers too much already".

Both companies recently slashed the per-mile rate drivers earn in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and some drivers estimated a loss of 10 per cent to 20 per cent in earnings.

"This is an act of solidarity with drivers across the country, and really across the world, who are suffering with poverty wages", said NYTWA executive director Bhairavi Desai.

A Lyft spokesperson said Lyft drivers' hourly earnings have increased over the last two years.

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Uber has steadfastly and mostly successfully beaten back attempts to compel it to treat drivers as employees, arguing that its main business is a platform that brings riders and drivers together.

"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", the spokeswoman said in a statement.

Uber has three million drivers globally, and it is not clear if the work actions can significantly slow service, although organizers have received widespread publicity. A driver in New Delhi showed his Uber app that said he had received an $84 (roughly Rs. 5,800) reward, while another in the city, Arvind Kumar, received $165 (roughly Rs. 11,500).

"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". They have also devised more complicated formulas for determining what riders pay and what drivers earn. "There is a lot of hype around Uber and the gig economy". These drivers work as independent contractors, which means they're not entitled to the benefits and labor protections that full employees would be.

"We want a living wage", Uber driver and organiser Mostafa Maklad told Gizmodo when the strikes were first organised.

Beebe noted ride-hailing companies have an even greater responsiblity to control costs once they enter the public markets and become beholden to stockholders who are seeking returns on their investments.

Financial experts anticipate Uber will raise $9 billion when it goes public on Friday. Lyft raked in more than $2 billion in its own IPO in March, only to see its stock fall almost 20% below its offering price amid concerns about its ability to make money - a challenge magnified by another loss of $1.1 billion during the first three months of the year.

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