Minneapolis City Council May Reconsider Ridesharing Ordinance That Led Uber and Lyft to Threaten to Leave City

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By journalsofus.com

MINNEAPOLIS – TO Controversial minimum wage ordinance The decision that led Uber and Lyft to announce they will stop operating in Minneapolis in May could be reconsidered in the City Council.

Thursday’s meeting agenda notes that council member Andrea Jenkins submitted a “notice of intent to propose reconsideration of Ordinance 2024-009 at the April 11, 2024 meeting.”

The ordinance, as passed, ensures that rideshare drivers receive at least $1.40 per mile, 51 cents per minute, and $5 per trip. Drivers are also entitled to 80% of any cancellation fee charged to a passenger. The city council approved the ordinance March 7 and Mayor Jacob Frey banned that the next day. The following week, the council voted to override Frey’s veto.

Uber and Lyft have said their businesses will leave the city on May 1, when the ordinance will go into effect. Lyft said the ordinance “makes our operations unsustainable,” while Uber said it will put drivers out of work. Uber plans to abandon the entire metro area, including the airport, while Lyft has only indicated that it will close its operations in Minneapolis.

Frey said he supports raising driver wages, but not this specific ordinance. cited a state report That shows drivers need 89 cents per mile and 49 cents per minute to earn minimum wage.

“The proposal that the council put forward was wrong,” Frey said. “Their stated position was that this was a way to make rideshare drivers a minimum wage. In fact, there is a substantially lower rate that will give drivers a minimum wage and cover expenses.”

Following Jenkins’ notice of intent, Frey said he was “grateful to Council members Jenkins and Palmisano for their partnership and willingness to bring this back to the table.”

“Until now, Council has been unwilling to involve all relevant parties in the development of the ordinance they pushed,” he said. “But there has been and still is room to reach an agreement to ensure that drivers who rely on ride-sharing services to earn a paycheck get a raise and that riders who rely on the service can continue getting around our city.”

It’s unclear what exactly Jenkins’ move indicates. The council approved the ordinance by a vote of 9 to 4 and overrode the veto 10 to 3.

In the state legislature, both Republicans and Democrats are considering ride-sharing bills. Governor Tim Walz vetoed a state measure last year after Uber made threats similar to those against Minneapolis.

Rideshare drivers react

Uber notified drivers Wednesday that it will close its support center in Richfield next month, about two weeks before it said it would abandon the metro entirely.

“If Uber goes, I think a lot of people will lose their jobs,” said Melakamu Bkuto, who has been driving for four years.

Another driver, Mohammed Abdi Mohammed, believes the companies’ threat to leave is a hoax and supports the ordinance.

“We need a benefit…because we’re always traveling here,” he said. “Is not easy.”

Bkuto says he would like an increase, but not so high that it forces ride-sharing companies to fold.

He would like to see more negotiations.

“There’s plenty of time,” Bkuto said. “I hope everything works out.”

“A few more weeks of city leaders talking to state leaders, and maybe with Uber and Lyft, could help us reach common ground, and that’s the hope,” said Councilwoman Linea Palmisano, who voted against the ordinance. “I’m always hopeful about it.”

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