Business & Economy

Lyft, Uber say they'll stop rideshares if Minneapolis passes ordinance

People sit in a courtroom
Minnesota Uber & Lyft Drivers Association (MULDA) president Eid Ali addresses Minneapolis city council in favor of a proposed city ordinance to give rideshare drivers more protections on Aug. 8.
Nina Moini | MPR News

Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber are threatening to pull service out of Minneapolis if the city passes an ordinance Thursday that gives drivers more protections and higher pay.

Rideshare drivers have been pressing the Minneapolis City Council to pass legislation that would set a minimum compensation for drivers and create a process for them to appeal deactivations. The push at the city level comes just months after Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a similar bill that passed both houses of the state Legislature.

The proposed ordinance would, in part, ensure that any driver who has a ride that originates in Minneapolis would make an equivalent to the city’s minimum wage  — $15 per hour.

The ordinance would change some protocols around deactivation, or the firing of Uber drivers, to give drivers more of an explanation. It would also eliminate the use of gift cards not issued by the rideshare companies, so there would be a way to trace riders and hold them accountable if necessary. 

In an email to the Minneapolis City Council, a Lyft spokesperson said the city ordinance would make fares too high. Uber asked customers to contact the council and mayor.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement to MPR News that more information is needed about the ordinance and that he'll continue to talk to stakeholders before he makes a final decision.

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Here are some responses we’ve collected from you.

Let them leave. This is bluster. I may actually take an Uber or Lyft again if they treated their workers with respect and paid a living wage. — Carrie Jo Swiggum on Facebook

Pretty sure taxis still exist — and pay their workers better! — Kevin Chavis on Facebook

I use Lyft occasionally. I want workers to be paid a fair wage with basic protections. If Lyft pulls out (along with Uber), I’ll say “So long!” and find another mode of transport. They are not the only options around here. — Christine Zuchora-Walske on Facebook

You’re asking the wrong question. You should be asking what it would be like to live in a city where all workers get paid a livable wage. Stop feeding into corporations’ scare tactics. — Annie Bulbulian Wells on Facebook

I use Uber pretty regularly and like it. I used it this morning, as a matter of fact. It is a convenience for me, not a necessity. I’d gladly pay more to improve their workers’ condition. — Aaron Benz on Facebook

I mean, I’d just use Evie Carshare (cheaper than Uber/Lyft already) and taxis more then. They can gladly cede their market share if they want. — Christian Noyce on Facebook

I have no car. I use Lyft for all my transportation. I am willing to pay more for this essential service. I am 84 years old and bus and light rail are not good options for me. — Marilyn Matheny

Owning no vehicle, I use both Lyft and Uber. I do tip drivers regularly and generously. I’m willing to pay Uber and Lyft more — but this will affect tipping. Same as at restaurants, customers tip little or no money if there is a “fee” added to the bill. Customers really want more details. I always compare costs of both services and time my trip to reduce my costs. Like others who live near city and state borders, I try to buy over the border to save money (5 cent. plastic bag fees, Mpls). I use those plastic bags for pet waste so that fee hits me twice, Mpls! — Greg Lecker

To lose Lyft and Uber would be absolutely devastating. I use them all the time. This legislation is a terrible idea and the city council should drop it immediately. — Barrett

I am a driver for both. They will leave. Not an empty threat! I provide 100 to 120 rides per week and earn $1,000 to $1,200. I depend on this income. I am happy with my income/expense ratio as well as my time commitment. Please protect my income! And my access to socializing with Mpls residents. — William Blake

They can leave as far as I’m concerned. I use Uber exclusively and I’d find another way. They need to treat their drivers fairly. That’s all the drivers are asking. Instead, they make threats to leave. Okay. Leave! Riders will find another way, where the providers will treat their drivers fairly. I received a message from Uber and my first thought was, Instead of trying to influence legislation, Uber needs to be negotiating with their drivers. Not trying to influence legislation. — Paul Barnes