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Minneapolis mayor calls City Council's rideshare minimum wage ordinance "dramatically off"

Rideshare fight continues in Minneapolis, Minnesota Capitol
Rideshare fight continues in Minneapolis, Minnesota Capitol 02:03

MINNEAPOLIS — The future of rideshare services in Minnesota's largest city is hanging in the balance.

On Tuesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke out against the ordinance passed last week that would raise driver wages for Lyft and Uber

During the news conference, Frey said he supports raising driver wages, but not this way.

Frey said the City Council passed the ordinance before looking at state data — released a day later — and called the proposal "dramatically off." The report said that drivers would need to make at least 89 cents per mile and 49 cents per minute to make minimum wage.

"We shouldn't be afraid of data, we should be embracing it. We shouldn't be ignoring studies that come out, we should be utilizing them and creating the best possible policy," Frey said.

The data in question analyzed 18 million rides and offered different solutions that Frey said would strike a balance to boost driver wages and keep rideshare services in the city.

"The proposal the council put forward was wrong. Their stated position was that this was a way to get rideshare drivers to a minimum wage. In fact, there is a substantially lower rate that will both get drivers a minimum wage and will have expenses covered," Frey said.

RELATED: Minneapolis riders object to Lyft's, Uber's plans to leave on May 1

After it passed, several council members called the ordinance "a win for workers, by workers." They say the move will close a loophole in the city's minimum wage law. 

Frey vetoed it a day later, but the vote suggests the council has the power to override said veto. On Thursday, the council will vote to either sustain or override Frey's veto on the ordinance.

If the ordinance sticks, both Uber and Lyft claim ride prices could nearly double in the city. Frey believes the companies will leave like they threatened and will leave the city with no options.

"You're not able to prop up an entire technology platform and a new rideshare entity that can handle the numbers that we're talking about in a month-plus period," Frey said.

Frey said he is feeling optimistic that the council will vote in his favor. If not, Frey believes Uber and Lyft will leave the city by May 1.

Frey blames scheduling conflict after Uber, Lyft drivers fail to show

Rideshare drivers were originally intended to accompany Frey during his news conference Tuesday.

But the drivers didn't show up.

Before the news conference, a city spokesperson told gathered media members there was a "scheduling conflict with the drivers due to Ramadan."

Frey himself said their absence may have been due to a rideshare bill on the docket at the State Capitol Tuesday. The bill, which like the Minneapolis ordinance would address pay for drivers, was set for discussion in the Senate Labor Committee at 12:30 p.m. Frey still held the press conference alone at Minneapolis City Hall around 11:15 a.m.

"It's the conflict between the state's work and ours and [they] couldn't do two things at once," Frey said. "We're looking into it, though."

State considering passing similar rideshare bill

At the Capitol Tuesday, lawmakers made their first moves on their own rideshare bill using that data, hearing from impacted drivers.

"We need this for our time, our maintenance, our insurance that we have to pay for in order to transport Minnesota's food and people to and where they need to go," driver Shannon Perry said.

The Minnesota Senate amended its bill so drivers would earn $1.39 per mile  — a change Uber's lobbyist objected to, putting the future of the bill in question.

"It's very close to the ordinance that's being discussed in Minneapolis right now, which we think will have severe consequences and forces companies to be economically unviable and unable to operate. So that amendment is absolutely out of line with what we can support," lobbyist Joel Carlson said.

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