Uber, Lyft drivers across the United States, overseas

Lyft carpooling press image

Simmering tensions between drivers and ride-hailing companies are flaring again, as drivers in major cities across the USA and the United Kingdom went on strike Wednesday over low wages and unstable working conditions.

Airport travelers and commuters who count on ride-hailing services beware - Uber and Lyft drivers are set to go on an all-day strike Wednesday.

Drivers for both Uber and Lyft are on strike today, protesting low wages and a lack of transparency around compensation, and a couple hundred gathered outside Uber's Market Street offices this afternoon ahead of the company's planned IPO. They would also like to see a driver representative on the boards of Uber and Lyft, respectively. Average hourly pay for drivers, the analysis found, hovers around $9.21 after Lyft and Uber take their cuts (20% and 25%, respectively) and drivers pay for maintenance and gas. Waymo has been providing rides through its "early rider program" since late a year ago, and though early riders are no longer bound by NDAs you still need to be part of the program to hail one of its autonomous vans through their app.

The inquiry will table a report on the matter later this year.

Strikes or rallies are also planned in Chicago, Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Stamford, Conn.

For both Uber and Lyft, registered drivers are not classified as employees; instead, they are considered independent contractors.

In New York, as many as 10,000 drivers are joining a two-hour morning commute work stoppage, organizers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said.

Shares of Lyft have been in a slump since the company's own IPO, falling 23% since its first day of trade on March 29 and IPO price of $72.

Ride-hailing strike? What ride-hailing strike?

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Matthew Wald of Drive Forward, a drivers association co-founded and sanctioned by Uber, said the Seattle demonstrators, "do not represent the views of the thousands of drivers providing rides every week in the Seattle area", in a statement.

This isn't the first time drivers have protested against Uber.

Protests were sparsely attended in London and NY, and rides appeared easily available in some cities where strikes were called.

For its part, Uber has rolled out new initiatives in an effort to make things better for drivers, such as in-app tipping, a feature that pays drivers extra if they have to wait for customers and 24/7 phone support. Now, thanks to the rule, drivers in New York City earn $17.22 per hour, after the driver expenses and fees that Lyft and Uber extract from the initial payment.

According to a recent study from Georgetown University's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, which spent two years investigating the working conditions of 40 Uber drivers in the D.C. area, 33% took on debt that resulted from driving for Uber.

FILE - This Tuesday, June 12, 2018, file photo shows the Uber app on a phone in NY. The company often makes these changes without a lot of warning or explanation to drivers.

The Uber spokesman said thousands of drivers in India earned the reward, but did not provide an exact number.

In fact, a spokesman for Uber told Fortune he would not even comment on the new European Union directive because the rules say genuine self-employed workers are excluded and Uber drivers are self-employed.

Uber and Lyft have steadily chipped away at rates, particularly in the more established markets where they have cut back on incentives and bonuses to attract new drivers.

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