On Monday afternoon, a group of New York City-based Uber drivers have planned to protest the company outside its Long Island City, Queens, headquarters.
About 10,000 drivers were expected to shut off their phones and not drive for the company in solidarity.
The protest was planned by a group of drivers known as the United Drivers Network. The New York-based group has been responsible for a series of protests before, notably in fall 2014 when its members protested fares they said were too low.
The group is protesting “fare cuts and just overall deteriorating conditions,” a representative for the United Drivers Network told Business Insider on Monday.
A United Drivers Network representative told Business Insider the group expected more than 1,000 drivers to protest in front of Uber’s Long Island City offices from noon to 2 p.m. ET on Monday, plus as many as 10,000 more will boycott driving for a day.
In addition, some of New York City’s Uber drivers are planning to officially register to unionize at City Hall once they get 4,000 signatures from interested drivers. New York City is one of Uber’s largest markets.
Uber last week announced lower rates for its popular UberX, UberPOOL, and UberXL services in New York City, which went into effect immediately. Uber has lowered the base fare for all three of these services, and it has also reduced the rates per mile and per minute.
In New York City, base fares are going to $2.55 from $3, per-mile rates are dropping to $1.75 from $2.15, and the per-minute rate is going to $0.35 from $0.40. In all, Uber X and Uber XL riders will see their total fares drop by 15%.
Fare cuts are intended to increase demand for Uber, which the company says would see Uber drivers spending less time idling and more time picking up passengers and collecting fares. Drivers say the reduced rate will affect what they make, though the strategy has worked for Uber (and its drivers) in the past.
When Uber last dropped its prices, in summer 2014, the company said drivers’ time without any fares dropped by 42%.
“So far the price cut results we’ve seen for drivers have been promising: over this past weekend drivers spent 39% less time without a fare and as a result saw a 20% increase in hourly earnings compared to two weekends before,” an Uber representative told Business Insider on Monday.
“This matches what happened the last time we reduced prices in New York — idle time decreased and net driver earnings increased. We expect this positive trend to continue, but if for any reason the price cuts are not giving drivers more business and better earnings, we will consider changing them as we have in other cities. Price changes need to work for drivers.”
The spokesperson also said: “We are offering to meet individually with every driver who wants to discuss their concerns and review their earnings to show how we think this is helping their business.”
The new round of price cuts, Uber says, have resulted in trips in Queens increasing by 22%, a record increase for the borough.
Here’s a flyer Uber drivers have been handing out to customers about the strike: