Minneapolis Uber/Lyft ordinance implementation pushed back to July

People listen to a woman speak on a TV screen
Rideshare drivers listen to council member Linea Palmisano during a City Council meeting on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Updated: 12:30 p.m.

The Minneapolis City Council voted Thursday to delay the implementation of an ordinance that requires higher pay for rideshare drivers by two months. The move temporarily averts the departure of rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, who have threatened to stop service in the city if the ordinance is enacted.

Council members voted unanimously to reconsider the ordinance after pressure from rideshare companies and advocates for people who are disabled, as well as concerns from the business community. 

Council Member Katie Cashman said they proposed delaying implementation of the ordinance from May until July after conversations with state lawmakers who are advancing a statewide ordinance raising rates and offering drivers more protections. 

“This amendment is to create a more reasonable timeline for continuing our legislative process, while tracking discussions and ongoing collaboration with state officials in their work to craft a statewide policy on this issue,” Cashman said. 

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The council is working to prevent disruptions in rideshare services by working with new rideshare companies and highlighting public transit options, Cashman said. A city spokesperson earlier this week said there are four other rideshare companies applying for licenses, although none have yet been approved.  

The Minneapolis ordinance would require a rate of $1.41 a mile and .51 cents a minute, or at least $5 minimum per ride. It also contains provisions directing portions of some fees for things like ride cancellations to drivers. 

Council Member Jamal Osman was one of the original authors of the ordinance. He reminded the council that it’s the drivers who need to be protected by the city. 

A man speaks into a mic
Ward 6 council member Jamal Osman speaks directly to rideshare drivers in the audience during a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

“This extension is good faith on our side,” Osman said. “This extension might not influence the threat of Uber and Lyft companies saying they’re leaving, let’s be realistic, we’re hostages to them, if we had other companies, we would not be in this place today.” 

An Uber spokesperson told MPR News Wednesday that an extension until July means the company won’t end services in the city until then. The companies have argued that the rates in the Minneapolis ordinance would make rideshares unaffordable for most riders. 

A proposal to rescind the ordinance by Council Member Linea Palmisano failed by a vote of 10-3.

Council members also voted down a proposed amendment by a 10-3 vote that would have decreased the rates paid to drivers in the ordinance. 

In a statement, a Lyft spokesperson said the company will keep operations in the city going until July.

“However, the fundamental facts remain the same: this ordinance will make rides too expensive for most riders, meaning drivers will ultimately earn less,” said CJ Macklin, senior manager, policy communications for Lyft. “This is unsustainable for our customers and would force us to shut down operations in Minneapolis when the ordinance does inevitably take effect.”

People sit on a long bench during a meeting
Rideshare drivers representing the MULDA Members group listen during a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Mayor Jacob Frey continues to be critical of the ordinance, despite the new implementation date.

“A delay is not a fix,” he said in a statement. “While Council continues to make a mess of this, I’ll be working with policymakers and partners from across the disability, hospitality, and business communities to find a path forward for drivers and riders.”

Council member Robin Wonsley also introduced additional changes to the ordinance that requires receipts for both riders and drivers that detail driver compensation, trip distance and other details. It also requires rideshare companies to regularly turn over data to the city. 

The council will likely vote on those amendments next month.

Supporters of an ordinance requiring higher pay for drivers were stymied last year after Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a similar proposal after threats from Uber and Lyft. Legislation is advancing in both chambers of the state Legislature.