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Seattle is the only city so far considering a minimum base fare rate to boost ride share driver wages

Seattle is considering a minimum base fare rate to boost Uber and Lyft driver wages

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SEATTLE, Wash. (KOMO) - Some members of the Seattle City Council want ride-share giants like Uber and Lyft to set a minimum base fare rate in an attempt to boost driver’s wages. On Monday, Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell plans to introduce a resolution that offers an option of setting a base-per-mile rate of $2.40.

The current per-mile rate for ride share trips for Uber in Seattle is $1.35 per mile. The resolution also requires data on all fares charged, hours worked, total number of drivers and driver compensation from “all market participants."

It’s a clear signal that the council wants more transparency of Transportation Networking Companies like Uber and Lyft. Michael Wolfe, a part-time driver for Uber said he’s satisfied with the money he’s making.

“This week I’ve driven about 28 hours, made about $730, that's about $26 an hour gross," said Wolfe. “After expense that’s about $22 an hour.”

Wolfe is also member of Drive Forward, a large group of TNC drivers who are against the city’s efforts to get drivers to unionize. A new law that allows that to happen is currently held up in the courts.

“I think city government has inserted themselves into something they should be in,” said Wolfe.

As of December of 2017, Uber said there were more than 15,000 active drivers and more than 800,000 active riders using their app in Seattle. In 2017, those riders generated $230 million before expenses.

The ride sharing giant believes nearly doubling the per-mile rides hare rate will ‘significantly’ increase costs for riders.

“Studies have shown that the rates that riders are charged really don't impact driver's earnings,” said Caleb Weaver, a spokesman for Uber. “So we really think the primarily impact will be fewer people that can afford it and fewer people taking rides.”

But, Don Creery who has been driving for Uber for four years, is one of the early adopters, and believes the city needs to interject itself.

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“I think most aren’t satisfied with the amount of money they are making,” said Creery. “Since the rate cut in August of 2014, it's just not been a job that pays well."

He said when Uber first started the rate-per-mile rate was higher.

Weaver said that’s true, but there were less drivers on the road. Creery believes raising the per-mile-rate to $2.40 or something close to it will make a difference.

“I made more money doing less rides at that time, so I think it will return to that situation," he said.

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