Uber unrest: Drivers in Los Angeles protest the slashing of rates

Yet Uber says its drivers are making more money

Published September 3, 2014 3:45PM (EDT)

Uber logo                (<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-320989p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">360b</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>)
Uber logo (360b / Shutterstock.com)

More than 50 Los Angeles Uber drivers gathered in a North Hollywood parking lot, on Tuesday, to protest the ride-sharing app's declining rates.

While one driver, Aya Valilar, states that she still loves the app, she concedes that in her year-and-a-half working as an Uber driver, she's seen rates slashed four times.

"I’ve experienced four cuts since I started," Valilar told CBS2 Los Angeles. "It was $2.50 a mile when I started a year-and-a-half ago, and now we are at $1.10 a mile. You can’t make a living off of that."

Uber drivers pay for their own gas and insurance, and the company takes 20 percent commission from each driver. At the beginning -- when rates were $2.50 per mile -- many drivers purchased cars, and made money, Uber driver John Dabbah explained.

"Now they are dropping the price day after day without even asking the driver," Dabbah told CBS2.

Beyond rallying against rate drops, Uber drivers were protesting the lack of communication between Uber and its drivers.

"I hope we’re heard," Valilar said. "That is all we’re asking for is to be heard. No one wants to listen to us."

In response to the protests, Uber defended the rate cuts. Part of a statement to CBS2 stated: "Drivers are making more money now due to higher demand than they did before the price cut. We will continue to work with them individually to ensure their small businesses thrive."

Last month around 100 Uber drivers in Seattle turned in their phones to protest cuts to their rates. And again, Uber claimed, "Drivers are making MORE money now due to demand than they did before the price cut."

These statements showcase Uber's a lack of concern for their drivers -- drivers Uber's CEO has once stated he'd replace with driverless cars in the future. (Not to mention some interesting math. I'd like to know how many extra rides drivers would need to provide in order to make up for cuts in price, also factoring in price of gasoline, and hours working.)

Uber has made many headlines in recent weeks due to the revelation of the company's ruthless SLOG tactics against Lyft and its temporary ban in Germany. Watch the video below via CBS2:


By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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