Uber, Lyft driver group plans 12-hour Atlanta strike Wednesday

A newly-formed group of rideshare drivers in Georgia plans a 12-hour strike in Atlanta on Wednesday, as part of a broader strike by Uber and Lyft drivers in major cities across the country that day.

It's yet to be seen how many of the Uber and Lyft drivers in Atlanta will participate in the strike, expected to start at noon Wednesday May 8 and last until midnight.

But the group, Rideshare Drivers United Georgia, said riders who use Uber or Lyft "should plan for possible delays."

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If you are traveling Wednesday afternoon or evening and want to make backup plans for transportation to or from Hartsfield-Jackson International, there are a number of other options.

Rideshare Drivers United Georgia handed out flyers to Uber and Lyft drivers Sunday at the airport's rideshare driver hold lot to notify them of the plans for Wednesday. Drivers are planning the strike in advance of Uber's upcoming initial public offering of stock.

Rideshare Drivers United Georgia started about three weeks ago and now has about 200 members, according to organizer Austin Gates, who estimates there are tens of thousands of rideshare drivers in Atlanta.

Credit: John Spink / ajc.com

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Wednesday is typically a slow day for rideshare operations, and some drivers take Wednesdays off normally, he noted.

During the strike, "there could be areas where it could take longer to get a ride," or rates could go higher, Gates said.

The group plans to hold a rally at noon Wednesday at Uber’s driver hub in Chamblee, and at 5 p.m. that day at Lyft’s hub in Atlanta.

Gates called the Wednesday events “just the beginning of a movement here locally with Atlanta rideshare drivers.” He said he hopes to eventually “get more drivers on board so that we have more leverage.”

"Some of the biggest things that the drivers are fed up with are constant pay rate changes and decreases in those pay rates," Gates said.


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An Uber spokeswoman issued a statement saying: “Drivers are at the heart of our service─we can’t succeed without them─and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road.”

The company added that “we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.”

Lyft spokesperson Campbell Matthews issued a statement saying Lyft drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years and that drivers on average earn more than $20 per hour. The company also said more than 75 percent drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement other jobs. “We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we’re constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community," Lyft said in a written statement.