Lyft, Uber in Minneapolis: City Council approves pay boost for drivers

The Minneapolis City Council on Thursday approved a measure that would set a minimum wage for rideshare drivers, like those who work for Uber and Lyft.

The City Council approved the measure on a 7-5 vote, though it faces a possible veto from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. 

Rideshare drivers have seen their wages drop by 60% over the last nine years while almost every cost associated with driving has gone up. They've sought a minimum wage from the City of Minneapolis, following the examples of New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.

The Minneapolis measure would set a minimum rate of $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute they have a rider in the vehicle. In New York, the baseline is $1.31 per mile and 56 cents per minute. In Seattle, drivers are guaranteed $1.50 per mile and 64 cents per minute. And in San Francisco, it's 93 cents per mile and 40 cents per minute. 

Uber and Lyft say they raised prices for riders in response to new minimum wages and they’ve fought the Minneapolis ordinance just as they did a bill in the state legislature earlier this year. Lyft has threatened to pull out of Minneapolis at the end of the year over this ordinance, arguing the minimum wage would make rides too expensive in Minneapolis.

The measure would also create a process in which a driver could appeal after they've been deactivated, something Lyft has said would "make it impossible" for the company to "prioritize safety."

The mayor has until next Wednesday to sign or veto the resolution. A statement from Mayor Frey's office on Thursday said: "As the mayor laid out in his letter to the City Council yesterday, he supports drivers being paid more. However, he has deep concerns with how the ordinance is written and the impact it will have. He needs time to review the ordinance and the amendments made to it."

It would take a total of nine votes to override Frey's veto, if that's the action he takes on the ordinance.

Lyft statement:

"This bill has been jammed through the Council in less than a month with little consideration for its consequences. If it becomes law, drivers would ultimately earn less because prices could double and only the most wealthy could still afford a ride. We support a minimum earning standard for drivers, but it should be part of a broader statewide solution that also protects driver independence. That's why we urge Mayor Frey to veto this bill and instead allow time for the state's rideshare task force to complete its research. Overwise, operating within Minneapolis would no longer be sustainable, and we would need to shut down within the city when the law takes effect on Jan. 1."