Pump the Brakes: Uber, Lyft Drivers Strike

Chicago commuters seeking a ride Wednesday may have better luck hailing a cab than using their smartphones to call for a car, due to a multistate strike by some Uber and Lyft drivers.

Instead of picking up passengers, some drivers turned off the apps for 24 hours, and gathered midway through that period for a Wednesday afternoon rally in front of City Hall.

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Not all ride-share drivers participated in the strike, despite efforts by organizers like Chicago Rideshare Advocates, which led Wednesday’s demonstration locally.

The drivers are seeking increased pay from their companies, as well as actions from local lawmakers. They’re seeking protections including a cap on the number of ride-share drivers.

The protest comes as Uber is about to go public – and millionaires are sure to be made – and weeks after Lyft’s successful initial public offering.

Lyft responded to a series of questions from WTTW News with a statement claiming that its drivers have seen their hourly earnings increase by 7% over the last two years. More than three-quarters of its drivers, Lyft said, drive fewer than 10 hours a week “to supplement existing jobs.”

“On average, Lyft drivers earn over $20 per hour. We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we’re constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community,” the statement reads.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

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