When Uber starts selling its shares to the public for the first time on Thursday, the ride-hailing app could be worth as much as $91 billion. Those who already have a stake in the company could become very, very rich.
But the drivers who rely on the app for income won’t.
Drivers in New York and other cities have complaints about the company, and they’re planning a strike tomorrow morning to raise awareness about their grievances.
How will drivers strike?
Drivers who work for Uber and similar ride-hailing apps, like Lyft, Juno and Via, plan to sign off the apps from 7 to 9 tomorrow morning. Customers will be able to log on to the apps, but they may not find many drivers nearby.
After 9, drivers will resume picking up passengers.
What are the drivers protesting?
In short, they want better pay and working conditions.
The drivers’ demands were outlined in a statement from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. One request is a limit on how much money drivers have to share with the apps per ride. The group also opposes what it says is Uber’s practice of arbitrarily removing drivers from the app, effectively terminating them.
Do the drivers work for Uber?
Initially, Uber called the drivers who use its app independent “driver-partners.” But in 2017, the State Department of Labor ruled that the drivers in New York were, in fact, employees.
Didn’t New York City already do something to help drivers?
Last year, city lawmakers limited the number of for-hire-vehicle licenses they would dispense, capping the number of drivers who could flood the market and congest the streets.
The lawmakers also guaranteed that full-time drivers would earn at least $17 an hour, and that the city would provide financial and mental health resources after several for-hire drivers killed themselves.
Uber declined to comment about the strike but pointed to perks it is offering some drivers, including cash bonuses, reimbursement for gas, and tuition for online undergraduate courses administered by Arizona State University.
Will the protest affect my commute?
Most people in New York City take mass transit, but a significant number of people rely on for-hire vehicles for rides into areas that are underserved by trains and buses. If you’re one of those commuters — or if you’re trying to get a ride to the airport or need to make an unexpected trip — you might want to plan ahead.
Yellow and green taxis will still be around, and they use several apps, including Waave, Curb, Myle and Wapanda.