Uber’s proposed price hikes for the UberX and the self-driving car services, which would have allowed drivers to earn an additional salary, have been met with fierce opposition from labour and consumer groups, who say they are too steep.
The ride-hailing giant is asking for an increase of up to $4,500 to $9,000 per job to meet demand, a change that will result in the number of jobs requiring UberX drivers earning more than $18,000 a year to increase by up to 25 per cent, according to a letter sent to Uber by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM).
The letter also said UberX could also be used by the elderly, people with disabilities, and people who have a chronic health condition.
The letter to Uber was sent Monday, two days after the company announced it would start charging a $1 per mile surcharge on rides for drivers who are 55 years old and older.
The new fee would be implemented in September.
The AAM said Uber’s proposal is “unacceptable and unfair,” saying it “takes away competition from established taxi companies.”
The letter, addressed to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, said the new fee could be a “game changer” that will help Uber’s business model.
The industry group argued the increase would “take away market share from taxi companies that are already on the verge of bankruptcy and could lose millions in business” if the ride-share service were allowed to continue.
The union representing the ride share industry said Uber is trying to “buy the public’s trust” and should be treated as a private company.
The National Employment Law Project (NELP), a national labour law advocacy group, said it was “deeply concerned” that the company would propose a $4.5 billion price increase to ride share drivers.
The proposal would make Uber the second largest company in the country behind Lyft, which has a $7 billion valuation.NELI said Uber drivers make about $1.6 million a year, but Uber could earn a total of $5.5 million in the first year of the new surcharge.
The company said it expects to be profitable in 2018.
Uber drivers make more than many taxi drivers, NELI wrote, and have an average hourly wage of $26.69.
“It’s time to stop the outrageous price hikes that are harming our drivers and families,” the letter said.
The NELP said the proposed increase “is going to hurt people who work in Uber’s supply chain and who work for low-wage and underpaid drivers.”
The union also noted that the average wage of Uber drivers is $17.83 per hour, and that the Uber drivers who earn less than $25,000 will earn a base wage of less than half that.
Uber declined to comment on the letter.
Uber said it’s working with the labor and consumer organizations to find solutions for drivers and other drivers.
“We’re disappointed that Uber is proposing a higher rate to help offset the higher costs of operating in the transportation industry,” said a company spokesperson.
“We are also working with our transportation industry partners to find a way to meet the increased demand for self-service.”
The industry’s top lobbying group, the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 1.6million federal employees, said in a statement that the union “believes the new rate is unfair and unnecessary.”
“The average hourly rate is $16.17, and Uber drivers in this position would have earned $21.90 per hour in 2018,” the AAFGE said.
Uber’s proposed changes, which include a $2.50 per mile increase, have sparked protests from Uber drivers and UberX riders who say the changes are unnecessary and have not increased the demand for their services.
Uber and Lyft both said they support the increased wages for Uber and Lyft drivers.
UberX is currently available to ride-sharing drivers in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Uber announced Monday that it will begin charging a monthly fee of $1 to ride with a driver on its platform.
The fee will be $3.50 in New Zealand, $5 in the U.K., $10 in Australia and $15 in Singapore.
Uber said its pricing structure is designed to attract drivers to the service, which was introduced in 2015 in partnership with taxi industry giants Uber and Waze.
Uber currently has 10,000 drivers on its app in the United States.
Uber drivers are not required to take a taxi.
Uber has also launched its own service in London, offering drivers an extra 15 per cent fare to riders who do not pay a meter fee, the Guardian reported last month.
Uber says its London service is designed for those who have already been licensed to operate in London.
The company has said that UberX will also begin charging