DENVER (KDVR) — Uber and Lyft drivers in Denver are rallying for better pay and safer working conditions.

A few dozen drivers met outside Denver International Airport to call on the rideshare apps to pay them a more fair share.

“They’re taking up to, like, 75% of our trip,” Erick Ametefe said. 

Ametefe said he has been driving for both Uber and Lyft for almost eight years. 

“It was good so I switched to full-time, and everything has been good since then until now,” he said. 

According to Ametefe, after the pandemic, he noticed his profits were lower for the same amount of work he was doing previously. For example, he said, a ride from downtown Denver to DIA used to mean $25 in his paycheck.

“Now, we make as low as $15 sometimes. The most you could make is like $19,” Ametefe said. “For the same ride. Nothing changed.”

A few dozen protesters on the grass near Denver International Airport
A few dozen drivers met outside Denver International Airport to call on the rideshare apps to pay them a more fair share. (KDVR)

Pay transparency at issue for rideshare drivers

He said Uber is lacking in pay transparency because the app does not disclose to drivers how much passengers are paying for a trip.

“There is no way Uber and Lyft are charging their customers any less than they were charging before,” Ametefe said.

“There’s a ton of Aurora residents who are Uber and Lyft drivers,” Aurora City Councilman Juan Marcano said. “They help reduce drunk driving, distracted driving. They help people with disabilities make it to their appointments.”

Marcano joined protesters on Thursday in support of more regulations of rideshare apps and greater protections for drivers. 

“I think that we need to create a wage theft division in Aurora. Denver already has one as well. I’d like to see that in other municipalities. That would allow us to go after wage theft violations that are beneath the threshold that the state of Colorado can currently enforce,” Marcano said. 

Additionally, Ametefe said drivers worry about losing their ability to make money, because certain passenger complaints trigger an automatic deactivation of the driver’s account. 

“That has happened to me. That has happened to several drivers,” he said. “There is no investigation. (Uber and Lyft) don’t know what actually happened in the car. They just terminate the account and send an email.”

Uber, Lyft respond

Uber and Lyft each sent statements to FOX31 addressing drivers’ concerns. 

“Lyft takes the concerns of drivers very seriously and is regularly exploring ways to improve their experience on the platform. That’s why we introduced Upfront Pay in Colorado last year, so drivers could have more ride and earnings information ahead of accepting a ride. It’s why we provide drivers a weekly pay summary each week that shows a breakdown of their earnings and the total amount riders paid. And it’s why we have a process in place for drivers to dispute deactivations if they feel they have been unfairly deactivated. We will continue to listen to and engage with drivers on these important issues,” Lyft’s statement reads.

“Driver earnings in Colorado are some of the highest in the country, at more than $30 an hour for time spent engaged on the platform. We know drivers have valid concerns and we’re hopeful that in the coming months we can work with them on policies and proposals that address those issues,” Uber’s statement reads.

Additionally, Uber attributes “much” of drivers’ frustration to Colorado’s insurance requirements for rideshare services. The company said a Colorado law passed in 2022 makes the state one of the most expensive for insurance in the country and results in higher costs for customers without any pay increases for drivers.