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Uber and Lyft drivers in San Diego go on strike

Uber Lyft
Posted at 7:39 AM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 20:19:34-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Uber and Lyft drivers joined fellow drivers across the nation in a strike for better wages and other demands.

Wednesday's work stoppage was held one day before Uber's initial public offering and one week after Lyft's IPO. In addition to San Diego, the strike was expected to affect service in major cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Boston.

Many drivers gathered at Lindbergh Field's Transportation Island at Terminal 1 and asked those looking for rides not to take an Uber or Lyft. The picketers also asked fellow drivers to turn off their apps for the day.

The drivers are demanding that Uber reverse a recently announced cut in per-mile compensation from 80 cents to 60 cents, and that both companies guarantee drivers a $28-an-hour minimum pay rate.

The $28-per-hour rate comes out to about $17 an hour after expenses, including gas.

Additionally, drivers want transparency about caps on the commissions made by Uber and Lyft.

Driver Ramon Casada said with tires, gas, car insurance and other expenses, there's no way to make enough money driving for Uber and Lyft anymore.

"We don't have money to eat. We work 12 hours to make at least decent money ... we have to work 7 days a week," Casada said.

It was unclear exactly how many drivers honored Wednesday's work stoppage, but the Southern California-based group Rideshare Drivers United said 5,000 of its members were turning off their apps for the entire day.

Lyft issued a statement saying its drivers' hourly earnings "have increased over the last two years, and they have earned more than $10 billion on the Lyft platform."

"Over 75 percent (of drivers) drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement their existing jobs," according to Lyft. "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 issued a statement earlier praising the work of its drivers, noting that "thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make (drivers') 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."

City News Service contributed to this report.