Uber driver wages, fare prices increase in Seattle starting January 1st

If you consistently take an Uber rideshare from Seattle, get ready to shell out more for your ride. Starting on January 1st, Uber rides from Seattle are expected to increase 24%, according to the company. 

Much of the increase for Uber commuters is because of the wage increase, voted on by the Seattle City Council in late September. Uber drivers are expected to be paid $16.69 per hour starting in 2021.

According to an Uber company spokesperson, the wage increase accounts for most of the fare increases. You can also expect to see a 61-cent increase in fares to pay for paid sick time, according to Uber spokesperson, Harry Hartfield.

RELATED: Seattle to require minimum wage for Uber, Lyft drivers

"We know that any price increase is frustrating for customers, and we continue to look for new ways to reduce prices while complying with the City Council's laws. There were progressive was to create earnings protections for drivers without harming Seattlites that rely on ridesharing, and we are disappointed that the City Council was not more open-minded in their deliberations," said Hartfield in a statement.

For Uber driver Don Creery, this announcement comes both ways. For one, he said that he does expect a decrease in ridership.

"I do think there is going to be some people who'll be dropping off those really short trips. Like to the 7-11 to get a pack of cigarettes," said Creery.

But for Creery, who's also a member of Teamsters 117, which represents a bulk of rideshare drivers, the increase to $16.69/hr will help in so many different ways.

Creery said that he's been working without a vacation since 2014. 

"It's maybe $200-$300 a week. A thousand dollars month. There's a vacation right there," he said. 

He also said that most people don't understand that rideshare drivers need to keep their cars maintained. It's an expense that often goes overlooked he said. 

"Things like car repairs, which are now a trauma. I've had to pay $3,000 in car repairs over the last three months," Creery said.

His rent also increased since he started driving six years ago.

"I live in the same apartment that I lived in six years ago and I'm paying $5,000 more a year in rent than I was six years ago for the same unit," he said. 

It remains unclear if other ride\share companies, like Lyft will follow suit. But a company spokesperson said it remains a possibility. 

"This is a historic victory for drivers - the majority of whom are Black and Brown immigrant workers - and it couldn't have come too soon during a global pandemic and public reckoning with the reality of systemic injustices. Uber and Lyft drivers have led a multi-year campaign for their rights and fair pay, and this win for these gig workers serves as an inspiration across the country of what is possible when we stand together in solidarity to demand fair treatment, dignity and respect," said Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasure John Scearcy

For Uber commuters however, it remains unclear if this will stop them from using the rideshare service, or looking at other options.

According to Uber, this increase only marks the beginning. They expect three increases over the next three months, with fares increasing as much as 50%, according to an Uber spokesperson.