Ride Share Drivers Strike As Lyft Reports, Uber Preps To Go Public

Uber and Lyft drivers around the world are planning to strike and rally today to protest their meager cut of the take and poor working conditions. The actions come two days before Uber goes public on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation estimated to come to about $86 billion -- but also with a vast disparity between the payback for backers and drivers.

In Australia this morning, “more than 30 protesters gathered near an Uber facility in Melbourne, holding signs that said ‘on-demand workers demand a living wage’ and chanting ‘Uber, Uber you must listen. We will break your algorithm!’ They said they were protesting falling pay, long hours and a lack of sick leave,” Kate Conger and Vicky Xiuzhong Xu report for the New York Times.



“‘Those of you that drive know that you have little time for your families, you have little time for your friends, every waking moment you’re thinking about when you’re going to get out and how you’re going to make the next dollar,’ Debra Weddall, 60, said in a speech to other drivers from the back of a flatbed truck,” they add. “Protesters nodded in approval and shouted, ‘Shame, Uber, shame!’”

“In the U.K., drivers planned a nine-hour boycott of the Uber app from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow. Hundreds of drivers are also expected to protest outside Uber’s London headquarters on Wednesday afternoon,” Elizabeth Schulze writes for CNBC. “Drivers are also expected to stage protests against Uber and Lyft in at least eight cities around the U.S., including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.”

The actions to be taken differ from city to city.

“In San Diego and Los Angeles, drivers are slated to cease working for 24 hours. In Atlanta, workers plan to log off ride-hail apps for 12 hours. And in New York City, there is a two-hour strike planned from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., which are busy commuting hours,” Sara Ashley O’Brien writes for CNN Business.

Meanwhile, “top executives, board members and early investors in Uber Technologies stand to reap billions of dollars off of their stakes in the ride-hail company when it goes public later this week. Ousted founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, who still owns 8.6% of Uber, is expected to make nearly $9 billion on his stake, while early investor Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com-- the world's richest man -- stands to make $400 million off of his investment,”  Megan Cerullo writes for CBS News.

“Eligible Uber drivers -- the lifeblood of the company -- won't see anywhere near the same kinds of returns, although some of them will have the option to buy Uber shares when they start trading between an expected $44 and $50 apiece this week,” she adds.

Lyft yesterday issued its first quarterly report since going public in March. It made a lot of money, it turns out -- and spent a lot, too.

“The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company reported revenue of $776 million in the first three months of the year, up 95% from a year earlier and better than many analysts expected,” Eliot Brown reports for the Wall Street Journal.

“Lyft’s loss ballooned to $1.1 billion, largely due to $859 million of stock-based compensation -- an expense related to the company’s initial public offering in March. The company said its adjusted loss was $211.5 million, versus $228.4 million a year earlier,” Brown adds.

“Transportation is one of the largest segments of our economy and we are still in the very early stages of an enormous secular shift from personal car ownership to Transportation-as-a-Service,” CEO and co-founder Logan Green states in the release announcing the results.

But it has been a bumpy ride on the market so far.

“Despite a sizable IPO pop, Lyft shares have sunk since its first appearance on the Nasdaq. Lyft hit a share price of $87 on its first day of trading, up from a $74 IPO price. However, in the weeks post-IPO it’s floated closer to the $60 mark, closing Tuesday down 2% at $59.41 per share,” reports Kate Clark for TechCrunch.

“Uber and Lyft have been subsidizing rides for years in a battle for market share, and they’re losing money as they do. Given image problems at Uber so bad that it reportedly won’t let its co-founder on the NYSE balcony when it goes public on Friday, more sustainable marketing for Lyft might involve something about taking the high road. This is the era when brands from Patagonia to Pornhub stand for doing the right thing, after all,” Nat Ives suggests in the WSJ’s "CMO.Today" email this morning.

Meanwhile, if you find yourself desperate to get to La Guardia from midtown today, fret not. “If you are in NYC, take Via,” an informed source tells us. “It's cheaper anyway.”

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