San Diego

Rideshare Drivers Plan Day-Long Strike for Better Pay, Benefits

Getting to work or happy hour Wednesday could prove a bit more difficult if you plan on using one of two popular ride-hailing companies, Uber or Lyft.

Drivers for the companies in San Diego have planned a 24-hour strike, starting at 12:01 a.m. to midnight Thursday, to protest what they say are dipping wages and minimal benefits. 

The San Diego protest coincides with demonstrations in at least 10 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. 

They're timing their protests in advance of Uber's initial public stock offering, which is planned for Friday. Uber aims to raise $9 billion from investors and is expected to be valued at up to $91.5 billion. A smaller protest was held in several cities last month ahead of Lyft's IPO. 

In San Diego, ride-share drivers plan to shut off their apps and show up to the San Diego International Airport's Terminal 1 for an 11 a.m. rally. It is not clear how many drivers will participate in the strike. 

John W. says during his two years of driving, his per-mile fee has been slashed by at least $.70.

It seems like nothing at first though, but John says the per-mile drop has led his take-home pay falling by $700 per month.

“I’m paying half of my bills for this month and it’s the shell game,” said John.

Michelle tells a similar story, adding she’s using the grace period to pay her car note because of car registration costs. “I just had to pay my registration for $276. My car payment is $389. I had to get this sticker first."

Uber issued a statement saying drivers are at the heart of their service. Adding they’re trying to improve the driver experience, "...whether it's more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protection or fully-funded four-year degrees for drivers and families.”

Lyft noted drivers' hourly earnings have increased over the last two years, adding they can earn over $20 an hour.

“We bring the money in OK,” said John. “You can’t bite the hand that feeds you. They’re biting the hand that feeds you.”

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