(The Center Square) – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed an ordinance passed by the city council to enact a minimum compensation of $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute while transporting a rider, subject to annual adjustment.

Instead, Frey struck a deal to boost Uber driver pay to the city minimum wage and guarantee at least $5 per ride.

“All Uber drivers in Minneapolis will now make at least the Minneapolis minimum wage — and no less than $5 per ride under any circumstances,” Frey posted on social media. “This guarantees a minimum wage for drivers while allowing us to address the flaws in the bill that I’ve sent back.”

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Minimum compensation would have only applied for ride portions occurring within the city and the per-mile and per-minute minimum rates would be tied to the municipal minimum wage every Jan. 1.

In a letter to the council, Lyft said the ordinance “could turn rideshare into a luxury service…” by doubling trip costs within Minneapolis.

“A trip today that would cost $20, could cost $40 next year,” the letter said. “Simply put, most Lyft riders in Minneapolis could no longer afford to use Lyft.”

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Uber spokesman Freddi Goldstein said they plan to enact legislation to boost driver pay “without sacrificing ridership.”

“It remains our goal to pass comprehensive, statewide legislation that will raise rates for drivers without sacrificing ridership,” Goldstein wrote in an email. “In that effort, we look forward to continued work on the Governor’s Task Force. In the meantime, for engaged time in Minneapolis (time spent en route to a passenger and while a passenger is in the vehicle), Uber will guarantee all drivers will earn at least the equivalent of the Minneapolis minimum wage, with no trip fare resulting in less than $5. We appreciate Mayor Frey’s thoughtful approach and the opportunity to continue working together to get this right and hope the Minnesota legislature quickly passes a statewide compromise in February.”

Ward 9 Council member Jason Chavez called the veto a “slap in the face to thousands of workers...”

“Mayor Frey’s veto is a slap to the face of thousands of workers in MPLS,” Chavez posted on social media. “As Council members, our job isn’t to count on pinky promises from multi billion-dollar corporations that they’ll do the right thing. Our job is to make laws that guarantee workers can earn a living wage.”

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