Uber drivers turn off app to protest fare cuts - CBS46 News

Uber drivers turn off app to protest fare cuts

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Three dozen UberX drivers protesting recent fare cuts turned off their phones at 5 p.m. on Friday, one of the busiest times of the week for the popular app-based ride service. 

Before the planned night-long work stoppage, drivers staged a protest at Piedmont Park.

"Uber needs to come to the table. We want to talk to them. We are not asking too much. What we are asking is so simple. Lets reinstate the old fares," said Kwame Atakora, who left his full time job to drive for Uber. 

Atakora said three cuts in the past year reduced fares from $1.75 a mile a year ago to 95 cents a mile today.

Driver Brian Newell said he cannot afford the cut in pay. 

"I've got to work twice as much to make what I was earning in 50 hours. Now I almost have to work 80 hours," Newell said.

The Uber app advertises that the service is nearly half the cost of a taxi. Uber also claims it has removed the uberX airport flat rates which makes the trip to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport cheaper for passengers.  

Drivers said they can't call Uber to complain because the company doesn't share its phone numbers. Drivers sent emails but claim Uber executives were unwilling to talk about the fare cuts.

"I love driving for Uber because I love my customers, but the company is wholly ignorant about how you treat so-called partners," driver Louise Cook said.

The planned work stoppage was supposed to last until 3 a.m. Saturday, but doesn't appear to be widespread. The Uber app showed a dozen working drivers as of 6 p.m. Friday.

Uber responded with a statement that reads in part, "season price cuts means more demand, which results in significantly more trips for our driver partners, and more earnings for every hour on the road. We're so confident in the earnings gains drivers will see from the lower prices that we're guaranteeing our partners will make the same if not more than before." 

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