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Seattle ready to set minimum wage for Uber, Lyft drivers

A Seattle City Council committee Thursday is preparing to move legislation forward championed by Mayor Jenny Durkan that would set a minimum wage for drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft.

The “TNC Driver Minimum Compensation Ordinance” would set “Minimum compensation standards and other labor protections for Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers” starting January 1st.

The legislation could set a minimum wage as well as include “tip protection” ensuring gratuity is passed on to drivers. It is also being lined up to regulate use of personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies in the vehicles, and require companies like Uber to be transparent in their pricing. Money will also be earmarked for a study of the minimum wage and the companies’ presence in the city.

The council’s Finance and Housing committee is set to debate and finalize the ordinance Thursday including the equation used to calculate the wage and incorporate “total time on app” for the drivers. Possible changes include a $5 floor on payment for ever ride a driver provides and a requirement for cleaning time and rest breaks in the per mile rate.

The goal, the mayor and backers say, is for drivers to be paid at least $16.39 an hour — the current minimum wage in Seattle.

The ranks of professional drivers grew sharply in recent years and the category has been the top-ranked new business created in District 3 neighborhoods including Capitol Hill and the Central District.

Uber and Lyft have pushed back on the rules as unnecessary, saying the typical Seattle driver earned $23 per hour after expenses.

The council has been looking at the minimum wage issue for drivers for years including an unsuccessful effort to shape legislation in 2018.

The latest wage push comes as part of Durkan’s “Fare Share” plan, an initiative to better regulate the driver industry in the city. Only the largest companies like Uber and Lyft are included.

Last year, the city moved forward on instituting a 57 cents per ride fee to pay for the Center City Connector streetcar, new housing, and ride-hail industry regulation that the industry also fought.

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5 months ago

“The ranks of professional drivers grew sharply in recent years“

Well that’s about to change. We are going to get the NYC Uber experience – fewer drivers and much more expensive rides. And we don’t even have the transit system that allows Uber to be a luxury.

It’s unfortunate we’re prioritizing the full time driver, which Uber and Lyft have never been targeting over the part timer trying to make a couple extra bucks.

Peter McGrath
Peter McGrath
5 months ago
Reply to  CityOfVagrants

Ain’t that the truth.

As a part part time driver who does this to make helpful extra money I may never be able to get online again during actual peak hours when the world returns to normal.

Politicians just want to optics of looking good to say they a champion of livable wages while Killing an industry.

5 months ago
Reply to  Peter McGrath

I drove for Uber for 6 months. I made around 25 dollars an hour but I took every ride offered and did not sit in my car waiting for the safer drives outside of downtown Seattle.

Zaldy Abad
Zaldy Abad
5 months ago

$16.39 in not enough money for drivers we re making more money now as an independent