Uber Drivers Strike In NYC
Today at noon, New York City and its commuters held their breath and waited for the worst. Uber, the company working towards replacing NYC’s famous yellow cabs, recently lowered its fares to remain competitive in the Big Apple. On the driver side of things, however, Uber increased its own commission from 20% to 25%. The drivers were so angry at the lowered profitability that hundreds of them announced that they were going on strike.
To understand how big a deal a total Uber strike would be in NYC, Slate explains that there are about 14,088 Uber drivers in the city, most of them part-time, and 13,587 yellow cabs. If Uber ceased to function, the amount of cars on the roads able to help urban dwellers get from place to place could drop by about half.
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Before the strike and protest at Uber’s NYC headquarters in Long Island City, a Facebook event for the strike had 834 people marked as “going” and 647 marked as “interested.” The press began to get concerned that hundreds, if not thousands, of Uber cars could be put out of service when the protest began at noon.
According to CBS New York, more than 100 Uber drivers turned off their apps and attended the protest in LIC, holding signs and chanting “Respect the Drivers.” Driver Inder Parmer summed up the reasons behind the protest by telling the CBS affiliate “Uber used to charge $3 a mile. There used to be 10 percent commission. They dropped the price to $2.55. The commission was increased to 20 percent. Now the commission is getting increased to 25 percent, and the price is getting dropped by another 15 percent. I would just ask American public if their salary is decreased by 45 percent in two years, how will they feel?”
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— Sonia Rincon (@SoniaRincon) February 1, 2016
While it’s probably disappointing to protesters that their attendance numbers were much lower than expected, there are no reports of how many drivers turned off their apps but didn’t head out to LIC. Nonetheless, NYC residents are starting to breathe a bit easier—for now.