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Minneapolis mayor vetoes minimum wage rideshare ordinance, calls for special session

New rideshare study sparks outrage amongst Uber, Lyft, Mayor Frey expected to veto new ordinance
New rideshare study sparks outrage amongst Uber, Lyft, Mayor Frey expected to veto new ordinance 02:03

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has once again vetoed an ordinance passed by the City Council that would guarantee a minimum wage for rideshare drivers.

"I do have some optimism that they won't override my veto, not just based on conversations that I've had, but also based on the reality that just hit today," said Frey.

The City Council passed the ordinance Thursday in a 9-4 vote, despite concerns from council members over the fact that a state task force would be releasing their report on rideshare economics the next day. 

As expected, Frey vowed to veto the ordinance and did so Friday. Frey vetoed a similar bill last summer. This time, however, the City Council could override the veto if the vote stays at 9-4.  

"If I had to guess right now, I would say they're not going to be able to override. I've been wrong before, I could be wrong again on this," said Frey.

Frey is now calling for a special session before the council is expected to override the veto. Later, the city confirmed the special session for the council is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Public Service Center. 

Under the plan, drivers would be paid $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute while transporting passengers and would make no less than $5 per ride. They would also keep 80% of fees for any canceled requests for service.

RELATED: Will rideshare companies leave Minneapolis? Experts say not so fast

The proposal mirrors language that Frey vetoed last summer, but without rules about when drivers are "deactivated" or kicked off the platform because of policy violations or criminal convictions. The new ordinance would take effect April 1 if it receives the full council's approval.

Several of the council members called the passing of the ordinance "a win for workers, by workers." They say the move will close a loophole in the city's minimum wage law.

If the ordinance becomes law, both Lyft and Uber say they'll pull services from the city on May 1, which is the new implementation date following an amendment by the council. They say the move could also impact its services statewide. 

In response, Uber said quote, "the study is deeply flawed, and that "It's also now clear that the Minneapolis minimum wage proposal is off by a whopping 60%." 

Lyft called the report "dishonest," and "nonsensical, and said  "the study increases the mileage rate of drivers by close to 40% by padding the number with non-mileage related expenses."

"Mayor Frey is right to veto this legislation, and we urge the Council to uphold his veto at their next meeting. Otherwise, we risk no longer being able to offer our service within the city once the bill takes effect on May 1," Lyft said in a statement following the veto. 

Among the state task force report's findings: rideshare drivers in the Twin Cities metro area earned an average of just shy of $14.50 per hour in 2022, taking into consideration such things as time spent without an active passenger, and other expenses. The report concluded that there should be a standard minimum pay for drivers. 

MORE NEWS: If Uber, Lyft leave Minneapolis, taxi services say they have the technology to keep fares happy

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