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The Lowdown Hub

You may be paying more for Uber, but drivers aren’t getting their cut of the fare hike Uber company


SAN FRANCISCO — Uber passengers paying astronomical fares amid a labor shortage may think the extra money is going to their stressed and overworked drivers. But drivers are not being compensated based on what customers pay. Instead, they are paid for their time and distance — with added, predetermined surge bonuses controlled by Uber.

While drivers in most of the country have operated under that model for the past several years, California drivers only shifted back to that model in April. Uber had previously compensated California drivers based on customer fares as it sought to prove they were independent contractors, not employees after the California legislature passed a law aimed at gig work. But in November voters passed Prop 22, a ballot measure that overrode the law’s requirement to make ride-hailing drivers employees. Now Uber has reverted its California drivers to the old pay system, and drivers in some markets say that is depriving them of tens and even hundreds of dollars per week when customers are now paying multiples of the usual price to ride with the apps.