Drivers for Uber and Lyft went on strike on Wednesday, protesting what they say are low wages and calling on the companies to provide better compensation.
The strikes are being held at a time when both of the popular ridesharing apps are raking in billions of dollars from investors, according to the Associated Press.
Wednesday’s strike involves drivers in 10 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
The protests are being held just before Uber’s public stock offering, which is scheduled for Friday. Uber is hoping to raise $9 billion from investors and is anticipating that its value will rise to $91.5 billion.
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Drivers for ridesharing apps have held protests in the past, but this particular strike has more cities participating.
Henry Joseph-Grant, chief commercial officer at Talixo, a booking service portal for taxis and limousines, told Global News: “I empathize with (the drivers). They have a valid point, the peak times for ride-hailing app drivers are at unsocial hours so that affects their work-life balance, having to work late hours. They have shorter rides as well.”
Joseph-Grant says the drivers who work for Talixo’s partners in 1,000 different markets worldwide are happier than those who drive for ridesharing apps.
“By having pre-booked rides, which serves a large market … you can have happier drivers, and they provide a better service, which, in turn, makes customers happy,” he explained.
According to the Associated Press, drivers in New York are planning to switch off their Uber and Lyft apps from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, while Los Angeles drivers have planned a 24-hour strike and a picket line at Los Angeles International Airport.
“Lyft said its drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years, that 75 per cent of its drivers work less than 10 hours per week to supplement existing jobs and that, on average, the company’s drivers earn over $20 an hour,” the Associated Press reports.
Lyft told the news outlet: “We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we’re constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community.”
In New York, drivers plan to rally outside the offices of Uber and Lyft in Queens.
Ridesharing app drivers also plan to strike in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego and Stamford, Conn.
—With files from the Associated Press