Uber and Lyft drivers are on strike today. What riders need to know
Rides through Uber and Lyft that are already hard to secure these days — and sometimes eye-poppingly expensive — because many drivers stopped working in the pandemic may become even more difficult to reserve Wednesday, when some drivers will be on strike.
An organization that represents rideshare drivers has called for the strike and has also planned a rally and demonstration Wednesday afternoon at the LAXit pickup area at the airport. If you’re heading to or from LAX — or were planning to hail a ride somewhere in or around L.A. today — here’s what you need to know.
Who’s going on strike, and why?
Rideshare Drivers United, an L.A.-based labor rights group made up of drivers for app-based services such as Lyft and Uber, says drivers will strike and stage rallies in 11 cities around the U.S. on July 21. Organizers say drivers are striking for better pay and legal protections under the PRO Act.
Brian Dolber, an organizer with Rideshare Drivers United, said that what people have described as driver shortages are actually a “silent strike” from gig workers who feel driving for the apps has become less safe and lucrative. He said Wednesday’s actions are “making that silent strike heard.”
The PRO (short for Protecting the Right to Organize) Act passed the U.S. House this year and has been endorsed by President Biden. The act would expand protections for workers seeking to unionize, ban some tactics used by employers to dissuade union organizing activities, overturn the Taft-Hartley Act, and overturn so-called right-to-work laws in 28 states, among other things. Business columnist Michael Hiltzik says the PRO Act “would be the most important law protecting worker rights since the original National Labor Relations Act of 1935.”
Uber and Lyft drivers who have joined a strike across California to protest gig-work conditions are aiming their message at lawmakers in Washington.
How long will the strike last?
The strike began at midnight Wednesday and will last 24 hours, so the entire day of July 21.
What should riders expect during the strike?
Representatives for Lyft and Uber said that in the past, they have not observed higher fares or longer wait times during strikes, and do not anticipate either of those things this time around. But whether that is the case will depend on the volume of demand for rides and the number of drivers who participate. Already this year, many riders have noticed increased waits and costs, which could get worse if even more drivers choose to strike. It’s not clear how many drivers will participate in the strike.
The rally and demonstration are scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 p.m., during which time protesters will march to the LAXit plaza and picket. There could be disruptions in service during that time.
What if I need a ride somewhere?
If you need a ride and can’t or don’t want to hail a ride, consider public transit, ask someone to drive you, or call a taxi cab. In general, it’s never a bad idea to have the phone numbers for a couple of local cab companies saved in your phone. Here are some options.
L.A. City Cab — (888) 248-9222
More information on flat-rate pricing to LAX and more at lacitycab.com.
Independent Cab Co. — (800) 521-8294
Check rates and book online at lataxi.com.
What are my other options for getting to or from LAX?
The airport has a list of different ways to get to and from LAX beyond taking Uber or Lyft. Your options include:
FlyAway: Catch a ride to or from Union Station or Van Nuys for $9.75 each way. (The Hollywood and Long Beach routes are currently suspended due to COVID.) Ticket information and schedules are available here.
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