1. Transportation

Uber drivers plan another work stoppage at midnight Saturday to protest Uber's low rates

Published Jan. 23, 2016

TAMPA — It may not be easy to Uber this weekend: Ride-share drivers say they plan to continue their protest against the company's lower fares by staging a work stoppage starting at midnight today.

Earlier this month, Uber slashed local fares by 32 percent to attract more people to use the ride-share service. But drivers protested that the new rates have made it hard for them to drive for Uber without losing money.

Protesting drivers also think that a dearth of drivers could in turn lead to "surge pricing" — when Uber's rates suddenly shoot up as demand exceeds the supply of drivers.

The protests are being organized by the Tampa Bay ride-share steering committee. Organizers said the number of drivers participating was at 65 and growing. They'll turn the Uber app off and spend the work stoppage driving through Tampa. During the last protest, they drove through Ybor City, the Channel District and SoHo bearing signs on their vehicles that said: "I can't drive for $.65," and "Veteran can't support family on $.65."

That's in reference to the new fare of 65 cents a mile. Uber takes 20 to 25 percent. Drivers are left making anywhere from 49 to 52 cents per mile. When Uber started in Tampa Bay in 2014, it charged $1.80 per mile. Cabs are still $2.40 per mile. Protest organizers warned customers to look for alternate options for getting home after midnight.