Uber and Lyft drivers demanding change to make ends meet

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Employees with Uber and Lyft said they’re not getting paid enough, taking high gas prices and inflation into account. So, Friday night, they’re demanding action in the cell phone lot at Southwest Florida International Airport.

Drivers said they want fair wages, claiming companies like Uber and Lyft are getting greedy. Friday night, drivers parked in the cell phone lot at RSW are joining drivers from airports across the state, protesting their shrinking wages.

The demands drivers using Uber and Lyft are making. CREDIT: WINK News

Drivers told WINK News, companies like Uber and Lyft are increasing how much they take from each fare, and drivers are explaining why that’s unfair.

“About six years ago, they were taking 20% of the money. Now they can take from 40% to 60% of the money. That’s out of hand,” Luis, a ride-share driver, said.

“The car payment, maintenance, and to drive the customer… you don’t make enough money to keep up with the bills,” an anonymous ride-share driver said.

Drivers at RSW are saying the money they make from driving customers is shrinking, and it comes at a time when inflation is making it harder to make ends meet.

“It’s very expensive to live right now. You know, maintenance is more expensive, rent, everything. How are you going to drop our earnings when everything is more expensive now with inflation and all of that,” another anonymous driver said.

Drivers turned off their ride-share apps twice on Friday to send a message to their ride-share companies. To keep up with car payments, insurance, car maintenance, and all the other increasing bills such as rent and groceries. Some drivers said they have to work more than 12 hours a day, six days a week.

“We have to put food on the table, you know, for our families, you know. And they continue the same, you know. I don’t mind to… you know, I need to speak. That’s really bad. This is our living,” Marlon Aroyo, a ride-share driver, said.

For some drivers, this is how they support their families.

“I have a family. This is my work full-time,” an anonymous driver said.

And, with less compensation and increasing hours to make ends meet, they’re understandably frustrated.

“Why can’t they support us so we can work a normal shift, so we could have time with our families, our children, make the money that we need so we could provide,” an anonymous driver asked.

Some drivers have other jobs and do make ends meet a bit easier. But, numerous drivers doing this full-time explained they’re looking for new jobs. And they believe others will have no choice but to do the same.

WINK News reached out to Uber and Lyft, but only Lyft got back to us. Lyft said they take the concerns of drivers very seriously, and they’re regularly exploring ways to improve their experience on the platform. You can read Lyft’s full statement below.

Lyft Statement:

“Lyft takes the concerns of drivers very seriously and are regularly exploring ways to improve their experience on the platform. Last year, we introduced Upfront Pay in Florida and across the country, which shows drivers ride information and what they’ll earn before accepting a ride. We’ve expanded our cashback rewards program to help drivers save at the pump and we provide drivers a weekly pay summary that shows a breakdown of their earnings and the total amount riders paid. We also have a process in place for drivers to dispute deactivations if they feel they have been unfairly deactivated. We will continue to engage with drivers and our Driver Advisory Council.”

Background on Pay Transparency

  • Last year we launched Upfront Pay in Miami and across the country. Upfront pay allows drivers to see ride information and fare in advance.
  • With upfront pay, drivers start earning as soon as they accept a ride–so a driver’s upfront fare can include factors like how busy it is at the rider’s destination or long pickups. Drivers also earn through incentives and tips. This means there is no set “take rate.” 
  • It also provides drivers with pickup and drop-off locations, as well as estimated distance and time, at the time of the ride offer.  
  • It’s also worth noting that some of the fees collected by Lyft go towards maintaining and growing the business, such as to cover insurance costs, background checks, and other operational expenses, as well as towards expenses associated with attracting more riders (so drivers can get more rides and make more money).

Background on Weekly Pay Statements

  • Each week that a driver earns, they receive a pay statement that provides them with an easy-to-understand snapshot of how pay actually works and a comprehensive breakdown of their earnings, including:
    • Driver totals: total number of rides; total online/booked time
    • Earnings: ride earnings; tips; bonuses
    • Adjustments: fees from express pay and express drive
  • The weekly pay statement also includes the weekly total amount riders paid, including all fees, taxes and other pass-through costs. 
  • Drivers can see how much riders paid across the week in the Weekly Summary. Because driver pay is decoupled from what a rider pays, we highlight aggregate earnings to encourage drivers to rely less on individual ride details (which can be misleading) and more on the larger weekly earnings picture. 
  • An example of this is sometimes a driver actually earns more on an individual ride than what the rider pays. The weekly summary allows that driver to put that individual ride into context with others to get a more accurate picture of how much on average they are earning compared to what riders are paying.

Background on Ratings 

  • We have processes in place to evaluate potentially discriminatory ratings and feedback and incorporate it into investigations

Background on Deactivations

  • We take safety reports from riders and drivers extremely seriously. There is a process to review and determine the appropriate course of action. If a driver disagrees with the action taken, they can ask for the decision to be reviewed. If a driver is found to have been in violation of our Terms of Service, they are removed from the platform for the safety of the community.
  • It is our policy to investigate safety reports we receive and we have an internal investigation process to do so, as well as an appeals process for drivers to dispute deactivations.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.