Holiday travel: Uber and Lyft drivers protest for hours at Atlanta airport

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Uber and Lyft rideshare drivers protested at the Atlanta airport on Saturday, disrupting travel during one of the busiest holiday travel seasons, to demand better pay.

Drivers turned off their apps at 4 p.m. and remained parked at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for several hours, disrupting holiday traffic, FOX 5 Atlanta reported.

“As long as we protest, passengers will continue to be stranded and maybe that will have an impact,” one driver told FOX Atlanta.

The protest was intended to signal to ride-sharing companies that drivers deserve higher wages, as drivers claim they get enough per ride.

UBER picks up and delivers prepaid items

Uber and Lyft drivers

Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers turned off their ride-sharing apps at Atlanta’s airport on Saturday during one of the busiest holiday travel periods to demand better pay in an hours-long protest. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images)

According to the report, drivers said they received less than 50% of the fare for the trip. Some drivers reported receiving less than 30%.

Lyft driver Debora Williams called the pay disparity “ridiculous.”

“I went for a ride the other day and she said she paid $102 for a 40-minute ride. “I got $25, and that’s because I had a $5 bonus!” she said, according to FOX Atlanta.

An Uber spokesman defended the company’s policy on paying rideshare drivers, saying some drivers could earn more than $30 an hour.

“Earnings in Atlanta are more than $30 per hour when drivers are actively working on the platform,” the spokesperson said, according to the report. “Drivers also receive advance fare and destination information before accepting a ride and have full authority to decide which rides are worth their time.”

Uber’s holiday offerings include robot reindeer deliveries and festive party buses: “Go anywhere, get anything”

A Lyft sticker on a white vehicle

Drivers began the boycott at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 4 p.m. Saturday, which they said was the start of peak travel times. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

A Lyft spokesperson said drivers are paid in three different ways: upfront, tips and bonuses.

“Lyft takes drivers’ concerns very seriously and regularly looks for ways to improve their experience on the platform,” the Lyft spokesperson said. “Last year in Georgia and across the country, we launched Upfront Pay, which shows drivers driving information and their earnings before accepting a ride. We also provide drivers with a weekly salary statement that shows a breakdown of their earnings and the total amount drivers are paid.”

The prepayment is the fare that drivers receive for each trip. This can be viewed before the driver accepts it, the Lyft spokesman said. The fare is based on several factors, including the estimated time and distance to complete the ride, as well as demand for rides in the area and other market factors.

According to the Lyft spokesperson, drivers can also keep all of passengers’ tips.

Uber vehicle

Drivers wanted to make it difficult for travelers visiting loved ones on vacation to find a ride from the airport, signaling to ride-hailing companies that drivers needed higher wages. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Drivers’ earnings also include various bonuses offered by the company, the Lyft spokesman said. These bonuses are most often offered at the busiest times and in the busiest locations.


Despite the protest, many passengers in the Atlanta airport’s rideshare zone told Fox 5 Atlanta that they had no problem requesting an Uber or Lyft ride.

The drivers who staged the boycott said they were planning another boycott.