Apr 10, 2024 - News

Minneapolis City Council could move to delay Uber, Lyft ordinance by two months

A group of a few men raise their fists in solidarity and celebration as another man speaks at a lectern with a microphone at a press conference.

Minneapolis City Council member Jamal Osman (speaking) celebrated with Uber and Lyft driver advocates after the council enacted a new rideshare ordinance on March 14. Photo: Kyle Stokes/Axios

A group of Minneapolis City Council members has confirmed to Axios they will propose delaying until July 1 a new ordinance boosting rideshare drivers' pay from taking effect.

Why it matters: With Uber and Lyft threatening to leave town over the measure, the move would create an extra two months for the city to get new rideshare companies up and running, and give state lawmakers time to hammer out a broader compromise before adjourning on May 20.

The latest: Three council members who supported the original ordinance — Aurin Chowdhury, Katie Cashman, and President Elliott Payne — tell Axios they'll propose at Thursday's meeting what they called a "good-faith extension" in the ordinance's effective date.

  • The ordinance is currently set to take effect May 1.

State of play: A simple majority of seven council members would be required. With those three members, plus three more who've consistently criticized the measure, they would only need one more vote to enact a delay.

What they're saying: In a joint statement, the three proponents made it clear that they still support the ordinance, writing that Uber and Lyft drivers aren't paid enough, and that "inaction was not and is not a choice."

  • "We passed this ordinance because the current rideshare system is broken, and we were shocked to see the way it is leading to exploitative labor practices," they said. "This ordinance is one step forward in correcting this broken system."

By the numbers: The delay also gives the council a chance to consider data from a comprehensive statewide study on rideshare driver pay.

  • The state report said a rate of 89 cents per mile would be enough to guarantee drivers earn Minneapolis' minimum wage ($15.57 per hour) after expenses, and that $1.21 per mile would cover a full suite of benefits.
  • Minneapolis' new ordinance would require rideshare companies to pay drivers no less than $1.40 per mile while giving rides in the city.

The other side: Mayor Jacob Frey has criticized the council for declining to wait a day for the release of the state's study before passing the ordinance on March 8.

  • Frey held a press conference Monday with disability advocates and business leaders who fear the loss of Uber and Lyft would hurt accessibility, worker safety, and tourism.

The intrigue: If the council approves the extension, the ordinance wouldn't take effect until after the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials at Target Center at the end of June.

  • With the event expected to draw 50,000 participants to Minneapolis, Hospitality Minnesota raised concerns about how those visitors would get around without rideshare.

Zoom in: The Reformer reports nine new alternative rideshare companies are interested in serving the Twin Cities. Many are recruiting riders and drivers, and three are trying to get licensed in Minneapolis, the council members said.

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