Lyft, Uber threaten to pull out of Minneapolis if council passes rideshare ordinance

Two major rideshare companies are threatening to pull out of Minneapolis if a proposed rideshare ordinance is implemented.

In an email sent to customers, Lyft says it “will be forced to stop operating in Minneapolis” if the Minneapolis City Council approves the rideshare ordinance.

Uber stopped a step short of that but told customers “we would unfortunately have no choice but to greatly reduce service, and possibly shut down operations entirely” if the ordinance passes.

The messages come a week after the council’s Business, Inspections, Housing and Zoning Committee held a public hearing and sent an amended ordinance to the full council.

The policy would guarantee rideshare drivers at least 51 cents per minute and $1.40 per mile while a rider is in the vehicle. Drivers would also get 80% of canceled ride fees and have more protection against deactivation.

It’s very similar to a bill passed by state lawmakers this spring that was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Tim Walz, who instead created a workgroup to study the issue and provide recommendations for a rideshare bill next year.

His veto came after a threat from Uber to pull out of Greater Minnesota and only offer premium service in the Twin Cities metro. Now, Uber and Lyft are saying Minneapolis’s proposed ordinance could cause prices to nearly double, resulting in fewer ride requests and less earnings for drivers.

In the emails to customers, the companies urged the public to express their opposition to the ordinance to the mayor and council members. Otherwise, if approved, Lyft says it will leave the city at the start of 2024. Uber didn’t give a specific timeline in its most recent message.

Uber told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS last week that it is happy to be part of the governor’s workgroup and believes measures should be handled on a statewide basis “rather than a patchwork of different rules and regulations statewide.”

The full council could consider the bill as soon as Thursday.