Taxi drivers protest Uber price drop

Friday, January 29, 2016
Taxi drivers protest Uber price drop
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Tim Fleischer has the details from the Upper West Side.

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- Uber is dropping its prices, and not everyone is happy about it.

Uber announced Friday that it is cutting fares by 15%, starting immediately.

"Stop Uber greed! Stop the attack on drivers," protesters said.

Protesting outside Uber's Long Island City office, drivers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance accuse the for-hire company of monopolizing and threatening jobs.

"We call on Uber to reinstate their fares. We call on city council to legislate a minimum fare requirement," said Bhairavi Desai, the president of NY TWA.

Traditional taxi drivers claim they cannot compete with the rate cuts.

"I work 60 to 80 hours a week to just meet my ends. And Uber says I am a millionaire? They are the ones who make the money," said Inder Parmer, a taxi driver.

With the rate cut, Uber's base fare goes from $3 to $2.55. The per mile rate goes from $2.15 to $1.75. The per minute rate drops from $.40 to $.30. And the minimum fare drops from $8 to $7.

A similar price cut 18 months ago, Uber officials say, prompted this new cut.

"The demand for Uber went up as it became more affordable and available to more people. At the same time driver earnings went up also because the time between trips condensed," said Josh Mohrer, Uber General Manager.

Some sample fares from Uber for instance: from Midtown to LaGuardia will be $37.12, while the old fare was $43.67. From Williamsburg to Bushwick will be $8.40, it was $9.90. And from Astoria to Long Island City it will cost $10.29 versus the old fare of $12.09.

"Like we are going to get busy, and we are going to have more money," said Adalgish Sanchez, an Uber driver.

Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in, speaking on WNYC radio.

"I'm looking at making sure we lots of options for people, there's fair competition, there's accessibility and that our drivers are treated properly," de Blasio said.