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More Than 800 Drivers Hit Via with Complaints of Poor Earnings, Mistreatment

— March 17, 2021

The ride-share companies, Via, is under fire by more than 800 drivers over claims they were lured in with false promises of big earnings.

We’ve all read about Uber and Lyft mistreating their drivers, but have you heard about the allegations against Via? According to more than 800 drivers who work for the ride-sharing app, they were lured in with “false promises of big earnings.” Additionally, the drivers “wrongly classified them as independent contractors in a bid to deny them higher pay and job protections.” 

Lyft driver in San Francisco; image by Paul Hanaoka, via
Lyft driver in San Francisco; image by Paul Hanaoka, via

The complaints filed by the Via drivers are similar to those filed by Uber and Lyft drivers who have spent years fighting to be recognized as actual employees who should get benefits. According to the Via drivers, the company “advertised high earnings for those who signed up to drive, but failed to make clear how much the gig would cost drivers.” Two drivers allege they ended up making less than minimum wage when all was said and done. One of the drivers, Gideon Itenberg, said that after taxes and costs, he only earned $4.69 per hour. As a driver in New York City, he made well below the $15 minimum wage. Itenberg added that the company “never explained the multitude of fees and costs that Via either refused to pay for, passed on to me [to] cover or deducted from my earnings” and added that he “signed up in November 2017 to earn desperately needed extra cash.”

Felix Lam is another one of the drivers for Via. According to him, he only made between $9 and $11 an hour. He and Itenberg are fighting for justice and allege Via “forced them to agree to arbitrate any dispute behind closed doors but wants each driver to pay at least $17,000 in fees first.

Via has operations in more than 20 countries and even partners with governments and schools to help provide transportation. So far, the ride-share company has refused to allow the drivers to “band together to fight their claims and reduce costs.” Itenberg said, “I lose no matter what I do.” He is hoping the litigation will either force Via to pay the “arbitration costs or for a judge’s permission to pursue their claims collectively or in a different forum.

When commenting on the case, attorney Marc Held said:

“Via refuses to submit to arbitration, refuses to pay the costs to commence arbitration, and … the costs of arbitration are intentionally, absurdly and unnecessarily high compared to nearly any alternative.”

When responding to the drivers, Via said their complaint is “filled with inaccuracies.” It added that it has “consistently paid its drivers above the minimum amount set by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, and more than other ride-sharing companies.” 


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