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How Uber Robs Its Drivers

Uber and Lyft are hiding the true cost of a ride for a reason

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Video produced and hosted by Isabela Escalona

Uber and Lyft don’t tell drivers the total cost of a ride. The lack of transparency is intentional — to prevent drivers from organizing for better pay. But we got our hands on data that reveals Uber is taking as much as 53%.

Drivers are using that data to fight back.

What’s happening

Uber and Lyft prices are out of control — for drivers and riders.

Researchers at the Workers’ Algorithm Observatory are collaborating with Colorado Independent Drivers United and Ridehail Drivers United to crowdsource data for FairFare. FairFare is a tool that analyzes fare take rates, or how much a company takes from every fare.

University of Colorado Boulder PhD researcher Samantha Dalal said preliminary research found that these companies sometimes take more than half of what a rider pays.

“With surge pricing rides, the most common take rate was about 53%, versus around 46% for non-search pricing rides,” Dalal said, “Which is a huge difference really.”

Rideshare drivers want honesty. They want apps like Uber and Lyft to show drivers what each rider is paying and exactly how much of that payment drivers will pocket.

In Colorado, legislators like Stephanie Vigil, a gig worker herself, are working on just that.

Vigil is leading a push in the Colorado state house to mandate that gig companies share take rates and other pricing data with their workers.

Passing legislation like Vigil’s is key to empowering rideshare drivers and leveling the balance of power between corporations and workers.

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