Uber says it will end service in Greater Minnesota if Gov. Walz signs rideshare bill

A popular rideshare service has increased its pressure on Gov. Tim Walz to not sign one of the final bills passed in the legislative session. On Thursday, Uber said that it will stop operating entirely outside of the Twin Cities metro area starting on August 1 if Walz signs the rideshare driver bill that was approved by the Legislature on Sunday.

“Following several months of unanswered requests to work with legislators on comprehensive legislation that provides flexibility and benefits to drivers without compromising service for riders, we are left with a bill that will make it impossible to continue serving most areas of the state. If the bill is signed into law, beginning August 1, Uber will stop operating our rides service outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. In the metro area, we will only offer premium products to match the premium prices required by the bill.” Freddi Goldstein, Uber spokeswoman said in a release.

Before it was officially approved by lawmakers, Uber urged its followers to tell lawmakers to oppose the bill, which sets minimum compensation rates, the ability to be reinstated after deactivation and more legal rights for drivers.

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The bill was celebrated by rideshare drivers when it passed the Legislature, and some riders have also expressed their support for the drivers. However, others worry about the lack of service if Uber follows through with its threat, which would also eliminate jobs for some drivers.

The company says the bill would require drivers in Minneapolis to be paid more per mile than anywhere else in the country and would reduce safety for riders by giving drivers the chance to challenge deactivation.

According to Goldstein, Uber offered a compromise of $1.17 per mile and $0.34 per minute, Occupational Accident insurance coverage and codifying independent contractor status, she says was ignored. Goldstein added Uber hopes to reach a compromise for the next session. 

Thursday afternoon, Uber and Lyft drivers were seen at the Minnesota Capitol protesting outside Walz’s office.

The governor has been noncommittal, saying he’s still considering everything before choosing to sign or veto the bill.