NYC's Uber drivers stay behind the wheel up to 19 hours a day to make ends meet, and say the company’s new fare cuts could make things even worse for them — and put passengers at risk.
“I have to work 16 hours a day to make enough money to support my family,’’ said Jugal Hinwar, 28, who has been an Uber driver for two years. “Last week, I worked 19 hours in one day, and I slept in the car at JFK.”
Another driver, Siraj Khondker, 55, described the dangers.
“It’s not good for us or for the passengers,” he said. “Your brain gets tired. Your eyes get tired. You can fall asleep. I am driving so I have to be focused, and I have to be alert or accidents can happen.”
Uber allows its drivers to work up to 100 hours a week, or an average of 14 hours and 15 minutes a day. That’s two hours more than the city’s yellow cabbies are allowed to be behind the wheel.
The Uber drivers say they have to work such long hours because they make much less money than they used to, since there are so many more of them on the streets.
And now that the company has slashed prices by 15 percent, the drivers gripe that they’re feeling the pinch even more.
More than 300 Uber drivers protested at the city’s airports last week, saying that the rate slash, along with the company hiring many more hacks, is hurting their ability to make a living.
The drivers demanded the company return to its higher prices, add a tipping option to the app and lower its commission.
Uber officials claim their drivers have been making more money since the company instituted the 15 percent price cut on Jan. 29. The first few days after the rate reduction saw drivers making an average of 20 percent more while spending 39 percent less time driving around without a passenger, they said. [MORE]