Lyft, Uber drivers protest sudden deactivations

A dozen or so Lyft and Uber drivers protested outside Lyft’s corporate headquarters Wednesday morning and called for the company to change its policy on deactivating riders.

The protesters delivered a petition signed by 5,000 drivers asking for changes to Lyft’s procedures for deactivating drivers.

“For drivers, deactivation is the equivalent of an immediate firing,” the online petition read. “Drivers deserve a voice in determining the policies that impact them at work.”

The group is calling for ride-hailing companies to communicate with drivers to hear their side of a dispute before issuing a deactivation, and for a transparent appeals process to be put in place.

“The majority of supervision and evaluation of drivers comes directly from passengers,” they wrote. “There is currently no process in place to account for discrimination and bias on behalf of the passengers and how it influences passenger ratings – and in turn drivers’ access to their accounts.”

The drivers had at least one of their demands met when a company representative came outside to speak with them briefly.

Shona Clarkson, an organizer with Gig Workers Rising who coordinated the protest, said that drivers who had been deactivated shared their stories with the Lyft representative, an operations specialist, who committed to looking into their cases.

“We are currently reviewing the specific concerns related to deactivations that were brought to us today,” said Alexandra LaManna, a Lyft spokesperson. “We recently launched a new system for educating drivers about our Terms of Service that decreased deactivations significantly, and we will soon make additional enhancements to our ratings system to make it more fair.”

Lauren Casey with Gig Workers Rising speaks to Marcus Weemes with Lyft about Lyft drivers being unfairly deactivated from the app at a rally outside Lyft headquarters near AT&T Park on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
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