Rideshare driver bill passes in the Senate, met with mixed feelings

Rideshare worker protection bill expected to be signed into law

Rideshare worker protection bill expected to be signed into law

The Minnesota Senate has passed a bill that would give rideshare drivers a raise and more protections over wrongful termination, but there are mixed feelings about the legislation.

If you need a lift, with a touch of a button, a ride is on its way.

“You meet so many people in a day from different backgrounds, and you learn from them,” Paul Nyene, rideshare driver, said.

For the last five years, Nyene has been picking up and dropping off for Uber, but he said the payout is not paying off.

“I picked someone up three days ago. They charged them $40. They [Uber] gave me $16,” Nyene said.

Now he’s forced to drive more for less.

Nyene puts his car in drive as early as 3 a.m. and finishes up at 5 p.m.

“What can you do? What can you say? Nothing,” he said.

But on Sunday, lawmakers spoke up.

Legislators passed a bill requiring transportation network companies, including Uber and Lyft, to set minimum pay rates at $5 plus $1.45 per mile and 34 cents per minute across the Twin Cities. The rate would be $1.34 per mile outside the region.

Those minimum rates would increase with inflation.

The bill also establishes an appeals process where drivers can request a review if they feel they were wrongfully terminated from the rideshare services.

“That is good,” Nyene said.

John Spaulding is always on the go traveling for business. He credits the convenience of rideshare for making his trips stress-free.

“I’m happy for them. They deserve it,” Spaulding said. “I take Ubers all the time, all over the country. I need that because taxis cost like three times as much.”

But with this new bill, Uber and Lyft warn the pay bump for drivers will trickle down to riders. The companies said this regulation would cause prices to double and demand to plummet.

“I’m from New York City, so I’m used to taking public transportation,” Ekene Nnadozie, rider, said. “I took the train growing up, so I can go back to taking the trains if Uber rides are getting more expensive.”

Drivers said all they’re asking for is a fair share.

“With inflation, if you get a bit more, it will help a lot,” Nyene said.

Uber and Lyft have expressed publicly they are not on board with this bill. This legislation is on its way to Gov. Walz’s desk for a final signature, but there’s no word yet if he plans to sign it.