Report shows lack of transparency in gig companies
If Coloradans pay $10 for an Uber ride, the driver could see $5 or less in their pocket, according to a study from Colorado Fiscal Institute (CFI).
The report, released March 22, highlights limited transparency on both sides of the gig — drivers don’t know how much riders pay, and riders don’t know how much drivers get paid. CFI found Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft have a “take rate” upwards of 50-70% of consumer fares.
Denver drivers earn $10.53 per hour after “out-of-pocket expenses” according to the report, including vehicle wear and tear and “deadheading” time — when drivers are heading to the next rider. The state’s minimum wage is $13.65 an hour.
Sophie Mariam, a labor policy analyst at CFI who worked on the report, says the organization gathered evidence that shows TNC companies are “spiking consumer fares” and “suppressing driver earnings.”
“[The report] really affirms that Colorado drivers and their families are facing a lot of economic insecurity as a result of opaque and exploitative policies that these rideshare corporations are using,” she says.
This comes on the heels of the Gig Work Transparency bill, introduced in the state Senate earlier this year. If passed, the bill would require TNCs operating in Colorado to disclose payments to both drivers and consumers.
“If there were transparency on fares, earnings and what the companies get, I could make my own decisions about whether I’m getting a fair shake,” Eric Ametefe, a Denver Uber driver, told CFI through a survey.
The bill also includes anti-discrimination protections and required disclosure of destination for drivers.
Addressing housing needs
A bill proposed in the state Senate on March 22 could radically change land use and zoning policies for municipalities in Boulder County and across the state.
SB 213 would establish a process to address housing needs across the state by prohibiting local governments from enforcing certain occupancy limits, minimum square footage requirements and prohibitively strict standards on modular homes.
In addition, accessory dwelling units and middle income multi-family homes — duplexes, triplexes and townhomes — would be allowed in areas currently zoned only for single-family units.
Nearly half of the City of Boulder is zoned for a single-family unit, according to the City’s website.
The City is still reviewing the bill to predict how it could impact current local land use codes. In a Feb. 9 policy statement about land use, City staff acknowledged that the General Assembly was considering legislation that would give the state some authority over zoning and land use, and wrote that “the city is traditionally reluctant to cede local control” because “local problems demand local solutions.” However, staff said the City would support state standards that overlap with goals laid out in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, like the housing affordability crisis.
“Addressing this crisis,” City staff wrote, “especially when doing so advances climate, transportation and equity goals, is a city priority.”
Free catalytic con-verter marking kits
Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is distributing free CatETCH labels to county residents. Applied to a catalytic converter, the label’s unique identifying number is designed to help law enforcement recover stolen converters.
Catalytic converters control emissions coming from the exhaust of vehicles, and contain valuable metals that, when removed, can turn into fast cash. The Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) says catalytic converter theft has impacted “many individuals” across the state and theft has “skyrocketed.”
Shannon Carbone, the district attorney’s public information officer, told Boulder Weekly in an email that the county does not have accurate data related to the number of catalytic converter thefts because it tracks thefts by the value of the item, not the type of item.
But, Carbone calls the theft of converters “a very significant problem throughout Colorado.”
Multiple new outlets reported CATPA found catalytic converter theft has increased by more than 5,000% from 2019 to 2021 in Colorado — from 189 to 9,811.
CATPA estimates replacement costs from catalytic converter theft can exceed $2,000.
To receive a CatETCH label, you’ll have to register at bouldercounty.gov and pick up the kit at the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Superior’s Sheriff’s Office or the Town of Lyons’ Sheriff’s Office.
CU student-led group advocates for mental health
Evangelyne Eliason, a senior at CU Boulder, started Project Kind to advocate for mental heath and suicide prevention. It’s a student organization, but Eliason says Project Kind is open to the community at large.
Eliason is organizing a 5K run/walk and talent showcase on April 8 open to students, staff and the community. The event is meant to promote suicide awareness and will feature live music, prizes and free catered food.
“When you have a wound, you have to heal it,” Eliason says. “What does it take to heal a wound? What does that healing process look like?”
Because of community donations, the whole event is free. Learn more about the events, register to run or perform and sign up to volunteer at linktr.ee/projectkind.
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