Minneapolis City Council passes wage hike, Lyft leaves city, driver’s wages crash to $0

Last Monday, I — along with thousands of others, I imagine — received an email from Lyft saying that they would cease operating in Minneapolis if the City Council passed a proposed ordinance hiking driver’s pay. Uber made the same promise. Nevertheless, the City Council voted to pass the measure last Thursday. The following day, Mayor Frey vetoed it. Yesterday, the Minnesota Reformer reported:

Dismissing Uber and Lyft’s threats to leave the city, the Minneapolis City Council voted 10-3 to override a mayoral veto of minimum pay rates for drivers.

Today, I received another email from Lyft titled “We’re leaving Minneapolis”:

John, despite our efforts and your support, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance that would make rides on the Lyft platform unaffordable for the majority of Minneapolis residents. This drastic drop in rides means the thousands of drivers who rely on the platform for earnings will ultimately earn less, creating an unsustainable situation for our customers.

As a result, starting May 1, Lyft will be forced to stop offering rides in Minneapolis and you will no longer be able to request rides with Lyft that start or end in the city.

We’ll continue to advocate for rideshare policies in Minnesota that create sustainable solutions that work for both drivers and riders. Thank you for your continued support.

Uber did the same. Atlas just shrugged.

When the City Council voted to pass the measure, the Star Tribune reported:

It’s difficult to gauge driver sentiment. More than 300 Lyft drivers signed an online petition opposing the plan, and some have complained that a small, vocal group of supporters dominated the public discourse.

The drivers who attended the council’s vote Thursday overwhelmingly cheered.

“This is great! This is historic! Thank you, council members,” driver Farhan Badel shouted.

Matthew McGlory, who said he’s driven more than 10,000 trips for Lyft and nearly as many for Uber, said he earns less than half the price the rideshare app shows to riders — with tip included.

He said he doubts Uber and Lyft would leave Minneapolis because of the amount of business travel, the Delta Air Lines hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the large number of national events held in the city.

“I think that is a poker bluff,” McGlory said.

Seeing big companies make 60% of ride income when the drivers provide the service doesn’t make sense, said Marianna Brown, who was a rideshare driver in New York before driving in Minneapolis.

“Why should we let the big corporations make all the money when we as little people make nothing?” Brown asked.

Be careful what you wish for.

There is an old saying that “The true minimum wage is $0.” The Uber and Lyft drivers of Minneapolis — including the 300 who opposed this measure — will now find that out.