Uber and Lyft drivers strike over pay at Denver International Airport

Courtesy of Colorado Independent Drivers United
Ride share drivers strike over better pay at Denver International Airport on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.

Local ride-share drivers in metro Denver used one of the busiest travel times of the year to voice their frustrations over pay and transparency issues.

Car horns were blazing as members of Colorado Independent Drivers United, a union representing Uber, Lyft, and Doordash drivers, held a four-hour strike at Denver International Airport Saturday. The drivers also shut off their apps during that period. 

It is unclear how much of an impact the strike had on travelers looking for rides out of DIA. Uber stated that it did not see an impact on service at the airport.

CIDU posted on Twitter that it had “near-total participation” from drivers.

“We need our elected representatives to hear us and start working on the legislation that will end the extreme exploitation of app-based drivers,” CIDU stated.

The group says the app-based companies have taken over 50 percent of drivers’ pay. They also claim the companies have deactivated the drivers’ accounts without explanation.

The group says those moves have not helped drivers, who are struggling to make ends meet as inflation and gas prices continue to rise.

CIDU is demanding that the companies take a maximum of 25 percent of drivers’ earnings, a $2 gas surcharge per ride, and end the unexpected deactivations. They also demand the state government to enforce the Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Act of 2014, which regulates rideshare companies.

In a statement to CPR News, Lyft pointed to various programs meant to help drivers, including a cashback rewards program to save money at the pump, and the launch of a Driver Advisory Council "to hear from drivers directly." It also recently launched upfront pay, which shows drivers "ride information and what they'll earn before accepting a ride."

“We care deeply about the concerns of our drivers. The Lyft platform continues to provide drivers with the ability to earn on their own terms," Lyft said in a statement. "As Lyft recently announced in its third quarter 2022 earnings call, U.S. drivers earned on average north of $35 per utilized hour including tips and bonuses in Q3."

Uber pointed to its most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, stating that its "average take rate on rides, excluding historical claims in the UK, is 19.2%." It also pointed to a new Colorado bill that now requires ride-share companies to provide more insurance for their drivers and was expected to increase costs on riders.

“Not only do all drivers receive the fare and destination information upfront before they accept a trip, but earnings for drivers in Colorado are some of the highest in the country, at more than $37 an hour for time spent engaged on the platform," Harry Hartfield, spokesman for Uber, said in a statement.

DIA did not respond to a request for comment.

This story has been updated with responses from Uber and Lyft.

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