TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — On one of the three biggest nights for Tampa Bay rideshare drivers in a while — thanks to Taylor Swift — Uber drivers are turning off their ignitions and closing out of their Uber Driver apps.
“We’re the ones doing the driving,” said Luis Cosme. “We’re the ones here late at night busting our butts. How are you getting more than us?”
Cosme has been driving for Uber for nine years and says Uber is taking more and more of his paycheck.
“If you do a ride to Sarasota, they’re giving you $19 up to $38,” Cosme explained. “We used to get $90 to $80.”
As a result, Cosme organized a strike. More than 100 rideshare drivers gathered at a waiting lot near Tampa International Airport, about two miles from Taylor Swift and Raymond James Stadium. Cosme said 100 more were in their cars.
“It affects me financially,” Cosme said. “And it affects me at home with my family. You know, I spend more time here than what I do at home.”
In a statement to News 2’s sister station, WFLA, Uber representative Javi Correoso said:
Earnings for drivers on our platform remain high, with the average driver in Tampa Bay making $25 an hour while active on the app. We are also investing in incentives to help increase the number of drivers on the road this weekend to meet the anticipated high demand. All drivers receive the fare and destination information upfront before they accept a trip.
Uber also said high insurance rates in Florida are partly to blame. That’s money neither the company nor drivers receive.
“It’s not fair to us,” said Hansel Paredes, another Uber driver protesting. “We got family. We got kids. We have the mortgage. We have car payments.”
According to drivers, inflation doesn’t help either.
“The gas every day is up,” said Uber driver Nelson Acheverri. “The car for expense, for everything is up. And the money every day is down.”
The drivers said they will keep planning strikes until they get better pay.