Feb 7, 2024 - News

Minneapolis weighs minimum pay rates for Uber, Lyft drivers

A car with an Uber and Lyft sticker in its windshield

Photo: Allison Zaucha/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If Minneapolis leaders enact a proposal being pushed by rideshare activists, Uber and Lyft drivers would be guaranteed to make the equivalent of the minimum wage ($15.57/hour). That's according to a new report from the city auditor.

Why it matters: Uber, Lyft, and driver advocates are gearing up for a rematch of last year's contentious debate over proposals to regulate driver pay and job protections.

Driving the news: Mayor Jacob Frey and members of the city council majority coalition are exploring three different models for minimum pay.

  • In a presentation to the council on Tuesday, the auditor confirmed that all three options would guarantee drivers earn something like the city's minimum wage.

By the numbers: The model drivers prefer — which would pay them $1.40 per mile and 52 cents per minute — would likely deliver the highest pay, audit staffer Andrew Hawkins told the council.

  • Uber and Lyft have previously proposed a $1.17 per mile, 34-cent-per-minute pay floor. Hawkins said that would meet the city's minimum wage threshold, but leave thinner margins for drivers to cover expenses like vehicle wear and tear.
  • A third model using a flat per-minute rate would likely pay the least, even though — unlike the other two options — it would also compensate drivers for time spent picking up riders.

The other side: Rideshare companies have warned that adopting driver-proposed pay standards could cause fares in Minneapolis to spike.

The intrigue: Uber has told city officials that the average driver in Minneapolis already makes something akin to $30 per hour.

  • Yes, but: Hawkins said other research has found most drivers spend about half their time waiting for fares or driving to pick up a passenger. Uber's data may not include that time in its calculation, he added.
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