L.A. City Council members, including President Herb Wesson, Jr., are pushing forward a motion that would create a $30 an hour minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers.
Drivers would receive a $15 an hour minimum pay and the other $15 an hour would go toward maintenance, gas and other expenses. Council members want an independent study looking into average wages and expenses for drivers before taking a final vote. Frustrated ride hailing drivers are applauding the move because they say they’re struggling from meager wages and lack of protections. But some experts say the L.A. proposal will backfire, leading to fewer drivers and inevitably higher prices. They question how the already struggling rideshare companies can sustain the change, which comes on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom signing Assembly Bill 5. In a blow to Uber and Lyft, the law reclassifies gig drivers into employees.
We reached out to Uber and Lyft. Uber declined to be interviewed but provided the following statement:
“Uber supports commitments on driver earnings, but we are concerned this study is based on potentially false assumptions that will fundamentally bias its conclusions, and ultimately will lead to higher costs for riders and fewer rides for drivers. We stand ready to work with the City on constructive proposals that will improve drivers’ experience on the platform, and hope that the study is conducted in an impartial manner.”
James Hicks, driver organizer with the gig workers group Rideshare Drivers United, which is based in Los Angeles, he’s been driving for rideshare organizations for three years.