Minneapolis Mirrors California, Bans Uber and Lyft, Leaving Disabled Commuters Stranded

California’s cautionary tales seem to be ignored. Despite the fallout of AB5, especially surrounding rideshare companies Uber or Lyft, as well as the California voters who helped rideshare drivers maintain their independent contractor status by Prop 22, other States and Municipalities continue to wage war against these corporations and drivers who want to be able to work in the flexible way the platform allows.

Add Minneapolis to the List. Uber and Lyft are pulling their operations from Minneapolis due to the actions of the Minneapolis City Council.

Uber and Lyft have announced that they will cease operations in Minneapolis due to a new ordinance that increases wages for drivers who use the apps. This is the latest salvo of the long-running battle between gig economy workers, and tech giants.

The council voted to override the mayor’s veto and now ride-hailing services will be required to pay drivers at least the equivalent of local minimum wage, which is $15.57 per hour. The city council has not been the only ones to advocate for an increase in driver pay. Nor is this a city-specific issue.

The City Council’s measure requires that ride-hailing services pay drivers at least $0.51 per second and $1.40 per mile for the time they spend transporting a passenger — or $5 for each ride, whichever amount is higher. Gratuities are not included. If you are planning a trip that includes more than one city, the Minneapolis portion is only included.

The measure’s supporters said that it prioritizes the rights of workers over corporate greed.

In a press release, council member Robin Wonsley who was involved in the creation of this policy said: “This is David and Goliath.” “Regular working-class people took on corporate giants and political allies and won.”

Jamal Osman, a fellow council member, said, “This would prevent companies from exploiting the East African community in the city for cheap labor.”

The social service organizations have warned that persons with cognitive and physical disabilities may be severely restricted in their freedom of movement.

Uber and Lyft have announced that they will be leaving Minneapolis by May 1st because of a new ordinance. […]

Mayor Jacob Frey had vetoed the bill, but on Thursday a majority in the council overrode it.

It is the same mayor, Defund the Police, who allowed Minneapolis to burn in 2020. In this case, Frey did the right thing but his “more woke than you” city council overruled him. Local elections are important. As usual, the people in the most need are those who get screwed.

In Minnesota, many organizations provide transportation for people with cognitive and physical disabilities who claim that this move would have a traumatizing effect.

Dakota County, for example, partnered with Lyft four years ago to offer discounted rides to 4,000 people per year. Tori Workman, Liz Workman’s teenage daughter, receives a $1,000 monthly stipend for rides to and from her local grocery store. The money comes from taxpayers.

Workman said about the council, “They need to fix it.” If they are smart, they will get back in it and reach a consensus on the right thing.

Connect Ability of MN, is a non-profit organization that has partnered with Lyft for four years. The report says that 3,000 people are using the ride-share service and they’re working hard to let them know what could happen next.

Sheri Wegner, Connect Ability’s Executive Director said, “They will have to quit their job because they won’t have transportation to get there.” “We’re going to create isolation, and we’re also going to cause problems for social workers and case managers who will be put under immense pressure.”

She claims that this can result in even more limited access to things such as stable housing, food, and appointments. Wegner commended the city council on approving drivers a living wage but questioned at what cost.

Wegner said, “They refused to lower their price because they were so stubborn, and now everyone else is paying the price.” “That’s unfortunate.”

Exactly. Minneapolis will launch a pilot program for universal basic income in 2021. They are funding it with federal pandemic dollars. They have perfect test dummies now that they will no longer be able to enjoy the flexibility and freedom of rideshare driving and that some people cannot use the discounted services and programs that Uber and Lyft offer to get to work or important appointments. It fits in well with the socialist philosophy of Minneapolis’ leaders. This is not the kind of government that citizens want or need.

When did this ever matter to these activists?

Wegner claims that her clients will be forced to depend more on taxi companies and metro transit. Even if she can get her clients to use rideshares, there will be more transfers and higher costs to avoid the areas Uber and Lyft won’t serve.