Why thousands of Uber drivers are planning to protest in New York City today

Uber Is Slashing Prices In New York City

On Monday afternoon, a group of New York City-based Uber drivers have planned to protest the company outside of its Long Island City, Queens headquarters.

The protest was planned by a group of drivers known as the United Drivers Network. The group has been responsible for a series of protests before, notably in fall 2014 when they protested what they said were low fares.

The group is protesting "fare cuts and just overall deteriorating conditions," a spokesperson for the NYC-based United Drivers' Network told Business Insider Monday.

The group, which a spokesperson told Business Insider is expected to include more than 1,000 drivers, will protest in front of Uber's Long Island City offices from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET on Monday. Some 10,000 drivers are expected to shut off their phones and not drive for the company in solidarity.

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 announced last week that it would be cutting rates for its popular Uber, UberPOOL, and UberXL services in New York City, which went into effect immediately. Uber has lowered the base fare for both of these services, and it's also reduced the rates per mile and per minute.

In New York City, base fares are going from $3 to $2.55, per mile rates are dropping from $2.15 to $1.75, and the per minute rate is going from 40 cents to 35 cents. 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 means Uber drivers will spend less time idling and more time picking up passengers and collecting fares. Drivers say the reduced rate affects what they make, though the strategy has been proven to work for Uber (and its drivers) in the past.

When Uber last dropped its prices in summer 2014, the company said that drivers' idle 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 spokesperson 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 initial results of the new round of price cuts, Uber says, have resulted in trips in Queens increasing by 22%, which is an all time record increase for the borough.

Here's a flyer Uber drivers have been handing out to customers about the strike:

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