Drivers protest against Uber and Lyft at Denver International Airport
Drivers held signs and wore red bands on their arms to show solidarity with the Colorado Independent Drivers United Union, who held a protest at Denver International Airport on Saturday morning.
Aziz Kohistany has been driving for Lyft and Uber for six years and tells CBS News Colorado, he used to make about $1,500 per week, now he said he's only making about $400. He said many drivers are struggling to make ends meet because the rideshare companies are taking most of the profit.
"I'm not able to pay my rent, I'm shortage of rents," Kohistany said. "With this much money, I am not able to pay my insurance, my gas price... whatever I'm making, it all goes to gas prices, insurance and other expenses."
Drivers said the app-based companies increased fares for riders, with companies taking up to 80% of fares. They said the companies are also adding-on hidden fees, while discriminating against drivers of color and immigrants by deactivating many of their accounts.
"We don't feel like being exploited anymore," said Steven Lustig, a union organizer. "We feel like as drivers, these companies are kind of taking advantage of us. We're trying to put food on the table."
Lustig said the Colorado Public Utilities Commission is not enforcing the TNC Act of 2014 when it comes to fare transparency with drivers.
"They are supposed to require these companies to reveal what their algorithms are and how they come up with these, and they're not doing that, they're not completely transparent," Lustig said.
CBS News Colorado reached out to both Uber and Lyft about the allegations, only receiving a response from an Uber spokesperson saying, "Not only do drivers receive the fare and destination information upfront before they accept a trip, but earnings for drivers in Colorado are some of the highest in the country, at more than $37 an hour for time spent engaged on the platform." The company spokesperson added, "We are ready to work with the legislature to fight for what drivers want, which is flexibility and independence along with benefits and protections from discrimination. Unfortunately, the group organizing this protest has actively opposed legislation that would extend greater protections to drivers."
Those like Kohistany hope Uber and Lyft listen to the drivers, and that both parties are satisfied.
"Hopefully they will fix this issue, for all of the drivers should that drive for Lyft and Uber, and everybody should be happy, because everybody has a family, and everybody wants to work hard to bring food to the table for their kids and family," he said.
CBS News Colorado also reached out to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission about transparency with drivers and rideshare apps, but they did not return our request.
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