Uber drivers to protest after company lower rates
TAMPA (FOX 13) - Uber drivers are not happy about a price drop they say could keep many of them from getting on the road.
Drivers for the popular ride-share app plan to protest in Gaslight Park at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in response to what Uber calls a seasonal price adjustment.
"We just can't operate at $0.65 a mile," said Uber driver and protester, Desmond Clark.
Up until Saturday, he'd been making $0.95 a mile, and taking in between $400 and $600 per week. With the price drop, his cut becomes much lower.
Uber says the goal of the adjustment is to encourage more customers to order rides during a typically slower season.
"We have to pay 20-percent of that [fare] to Uber," Clark explained. "We then have to pay for gas, we have to pay for your insurance."
Protest organizers said they are considering a work stoppage during Gasparilla, one of Uber's biggest days.
'Whatever we do, we are going to continue to do things until something changes, until we can get the attention of Uber, and let us come to the table," Clark said.
But Uber said it will guarantee earnings of $10 an hour, as long as drivers do a minimum number of trips and are active a certain amount. It said the price drop can be reversed if demand doesn't go back up.
Clark said Uber users may notice fewer drivers on the road during the protest, which could mean more surge pricing.
"We have a lot of drivers out there, this is their bread and butter, this is how they make their living," Clark explained. "The economy the way it is, this has provided the stopgap for a lot of drivers from being homeless."
Clark said his group expects more than 100 drivers at the protest.
Meanwhile, Uber announced price decreases in more than 80 cities.