The city of Minneapolis is committed to finding a lasting solution that both rideshare companies and their drivers can agree on, according to Mayor Jacob Frey. The mayor spoke during a press conference he held at his office on Wednesday to brief local ethnic media on an issue that is important to the communities they cover.
“We’ve been working hard to find a solution that raises the wage for drivers in our city,” Frey said.
Fair pay for rideshare drivers in Minneapolis has been a very contentious issue, with the mayor and city council members unable to agree on how best to make sure drivers earn a living wage while keeping companies like Uber and Lyft operating in the city. In August, Frey vetoed an ordinance the City Council passed requiring Uber, Lyft, and other ride hailing companies to pay their drivers more.
On Wednesday, Frey acknowledged the need for a balanced approach and expressed readiness to consider a revised ordinance this year to address the issue of wage increase for drivers. The commitment came after extensive consultations with drivers, advocates, rideshare companies, individuals with disabilities, and residents relying on the service, he said.
“We need to get an increase in pay, and at the same time, ensure this valuable service in our city continues to exist,” Frey said.
There are three competing driver compensation models for rides that take place in Minneapolis. Model A, which was the original proposal Frey vetoed, would compel ride hailing companies to pay drivers a minimum of $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute. The second proposal, known as Model B, which the mayor supports, calls for $1.17 per mile and $0.34 per minute. The final proposal, Model C, would require rideshare companies to pay drivers a flat rate of $24 per hour, applicable only during the time the driver on the way to pick up a rider or during the time transporting a rider.
A day before Frey’s press conference, council members Jason Chavez (Ward 9), Robin Wonsley (Ward 2), and Jamal Osman (Ward 6) issued a joint statement declaring their intent to conduct a thorough analysis of minimum wage policies, aligning with an ethical approach to policymaking. This initiative originated from their collaborative effort in formulating the Fair Drives, Safe Rides policy, which aimed to establish minimum wage standards and protect the rights of rideshare drivers. The leaders said they had introduced a legislative motion for a comparative analysis of the three minimum compensation models and will present their findings to Council by Jan. 19th, 2024.
“We are hopeful that such a policy could pass with full support of the Council and Mayor early next year once there is full clarity on how the models compare to each other” their statement read.
Eid Ali, the president of the Uber/Lyft Drivers Association said that drivers the group represents did not have a stand on any of three proposals and would wait to see how the comparative analysis goes.
“We obviously want what is best for our drivers, so they have a living wage,” Ali said.
Tom Gitaa contributed to this report.