Lyft plans to suspend California rides at midnight, barring a court decision

August 20, 2020, 5:05 PM UTC

Update: On Thursday afternoon, a California judge extended the amount of time Uber and Lyft have to make the change. The court will hear arguments on Oct. 13.

Lyft said it will shut down its ride-hailing service in California at midnight on Thursday if a judge doesn’t grant it additional time to reclassify drivers from contractors to employees.

“This is not something we wanted to do, as we know millions of Californians depend on Lyft for daily, essential trips,” the company said in a blog post on Thursday. “We’re personally reaching out to riders and drivers to share more about why this is happening, what you can do about it, and to provide some transportation alternatives.”

Uber has not yet responded to a request for comment, but the company previously said it also expected to “immediately shut down” for the same reason. 

The news comes a week after a California judge denied Uber and Lyft’s request for more time to make the switch. It also comes as a group of Uber and Lyft drivers plan to protest outside of Uber’s headquarters opposing the ride-hailing giants’ latest moves. The drivers plan to display an 8-foot inflatable baby outside Uber’s headquarters, suggesting the companies are acting like children by “threatening to take their ball and go home” if they don’t get their way. 

The companies argued they don’t have the systems in place to pay and track their drivers as employees. But the judge has said he didn’t see any reason to extend the deadline for the two companies, which have known about the new law since it was passed nearly a year ago. The California law, which makes it harder for companies to classify their workers as contractors, took effect in January. 

Lyft said it plans to keep fighting for benefits that work for “all drivers” and encouraged people to support Proposition 22, a November ballot initiative both Uber and Lyft are backing that would give drivers more benefits but not require them to be reclassified as employees. The drivers participating in Thursday’s protest plan denounce the initiative, which they say doesn’t do enough for drivers.

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