Uber drivers are extremely unhappy with the new passenger fare cuts the company has implemented.
They’ve even accused Uber of “killing drivers” and compared their practices to slavery during protests outside Uber’s New York City headquarters, according to Mic.
Since Uber cut fares by 15 percent, enraged drivers have organized to strike against the move because when prices go down, so do their wages.
While this is an issue of drivers being disadvantaged, it’s actually more of a case of “first world problems” than anything tantamount to slavery.
"You're going to sit down, and you're going to talk to us," one protester on a bullhorn shouted at the windows of Uber headquarters. "We're going to hit you in your pocket. You thought Uber drivers were stupid, and dumb and idiots. You were wrong, my friend. You were wrong."
Though Uber does need drivers in order to operate, they aren’t technically considered “employees” in New York and therefore have no stake in the company’s decision-making process, according to Mic.
In fact, the drivers aren’t even usually forewarned or consulted before changes happen and they are typically just notified via email.
Fare cuts are a relatively common ploy for ride-sharing companies to undercut the competition and incentivize customers to stick with them.
Ideally, such price decreases would benefit all those involved because an influx of passengers looking to save money would result in drivers making more money by giving more rides.
The issue, however, is that Uber drivers claim that they just end up working harder for less money and passengers’ savings actually takes money out of drivers’ wallets.
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"What passengers should know is that we don't mind 15 percent, but Uber should also cut back on their commission," a driver named Bisram reportedly told Mic. "Their commission is almost 30 percent. So their commissions stand, but our fare drops. It's very off-balance."
Uber maintains that their price cut strategy is a win-win for everyone and that it’s already working. They said in a statement that since the fare cut, trips to outer NYC boroughs have increased by 20 percent compared to the prior two weekends.
Drivers note that one of those prior weekends was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend which was expected to be slow, so it doesn’t make for an accurate comparison.
"Long weekends are the slowest weekends in New York, and holidays always decrease our earnings while people are out on vacation," Farrukh Khamdamov reportedly said. "We've experienced those days while working yellow cabs before Uber."
The drivers are accusing the company of being exactly like the taxi companies they are putting out of business.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Tyrone Siu