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California countdown begins as Lyft threatens to shut down tonight at 11:59 p.m.

The company is pushing voters to support a November ballot measure, which would help it resume operations.

California countdown begins as Lyft threatens to shut down tonight at 11:59 p.m.
[Photo: Clker-Free-Vector-Images/Pixabay]
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Update: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET: 

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Both Uber and Lyft will keep operating in California, at least temporarily, after an appeals court ruling gave them more time to comply with the order to classify their drivers as employees. The legal battle will continue, but for now, Lyft tweeted that “we’re still rolling” in the Golden State.

Original story:

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft continue their battle with the state of California over the classification of drivers.

Last week, leaders of both companies said they would be forced to suspend operations in California if the court did not overturn a recent ruling that required apps like Uber and Lyft to classify their gig workers as employees, rather than independent contractors. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi went on MSNBC to threaten a full shutdown, and Lyft president John Zimmer told investors on an earnings call that they would likely do the same. The companies were given a grace period of 10 days to appeal the ruling, with enforcement scheduled to start Friday, August 21.

And as the clock ticks down to tomorrow, Lyft has released plans to shut down at 11:59 p.m. PT tonight.

“We did everything we could to prevent this from happening and keep Lyft available for you, but it wasn’t possible to overhaul our business model and operations in ten days,” Lyft said on its website today. A representative from Lyft told KTLA that “the only way to stop that is if the appeals court judge issues a stay on last week’s ruling.”

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In a similar message Tuesday, Uber said, “We’ve appealed this decision, but if we are not successful in our appeal, we will need to temporarily shut down by Thursday night.”

Both companies are encouraging California voters to support an upcoming ballot measure, Proposition 22, which would exempt app-based companies like Uber and Lyft from classifying gig workers as employees. Thus, in November, Californians will effectively be forced to decide between denying labor protections to ride-share drivers at Uber and Lyft, or living in a world without the convenience of their services.