In a new report by Vice’s Lauren Kaori Gurley, drivers claim Uber is taking hundreds of dollars in pay for airport fees drivers never knew about. According to the article, between 2016 and 2019, “rideshare drivers paid $3.8 million in fines to Los Angeles International Airport.”

    The problem with this? Experts say this violates drivers Constitutionally-enshrined due process rights, which says governments can’t take legal action against a person without notifying them of the charges and offering the person to present their case before a neutral party. With this situation, drivers no longer have an opportunity to contest the tickets.

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    Which Airports Have Been Affected?

    Each airport has their own rules when it comes to rideshare drivers and what they can and cannot do. Typically when this happens, the police stationed at the airport will issue a citation directly to the driver to either contest in court or pay.

    At San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles Airport, the citations appear to be routed through Uber instead of given directly to the drivers. The only clue the driver has that they violated any rules is when they notice the amount needed to cover the citation is taken directly from their earnings.

    One driver named Tedros, interviewed by Motherboard, stated, “I’ve had four citations of $100 each deducted from my pay. Sometimes this means I’ve had negative earnings and no money to pay for gas. I’ve called Uber and they said ‘we can’t do anything.’ There was no way for me to contest the citation.”

    We had one driver reach out to us with a similar experience at the end of 2019. A ticket under his name went to Uber from LAX in the amount of $200. 30 days later, that $200 was deducted from his earnings. He was never informed what the ticket was for.

    What Are Drivers Saying About This?

    Countless others have faced similar situations, without being told what they were doing wrong and without the chance to contest it.

    Drivers on our Facebook page think that the drivers deserve this to happen to them because they are not following the rules. While that may be true, it doesn’t give law enforcement the right to deny due process. All of these drivers deserve to know what they were doing wrong and be allowed to contest it in court.

    Other drivers reached out and said this has happened to them before. One driver had to make several time-consuming calls to figure out why, and he finally learned it was a poorly marked rule.

    Some reasons for the citations include not having the Uber signage on the vehicle, stopping for too long in a pedestrian zone or parking outside of designated rideshare areas. Since the citations are not given directly to the drivers, it is even possible that there was no violation taking place, or that the signage was not clear on where pedestrian zones are, or a dozen other possibilities.

    It seems that this bypassing of the driver is part of the agreement that TNCs have with the airports in question. Some TNCs may choose to absorb the citations and others choose to deduct those expenses from the drivers’ earnings.

    My Take

    Yes, drivers all get the information up front for what is or is not allowed at the airport, but mistakes happen or a part of the law is in a gray area, open for interpretation. In those instances, if the driver actually got direct feedback from the law enforcement at the airports, they would have the opportunity to correct their mistakes.

    It may be part of the contract between the airport and the TNC, but that doesn’t make it legal or right. The driver is the one in violation, the driver is the one who should be told what they were doing wrong and the driver is the one who should be allowed to contest it if they have the desire to do so.

    If you are not a rideshare driver but were to get a parking ticket, but not be told about it, just have it taken out of your regular paycheck, how would you feel about that? A month after the fact, would you even remember parking illegally somewhere? Would you know what it was in reference to?

    Better yet, you’re never told that it’s because of parking illegally; the money is just taken out of your wages with no explanation. Does that seem right to you?

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    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula has been writing for the Rideshare Guy since the fall of 2018. The main focus of her articles has been breaking news, reviewing new apps, driver experiences and more. Prior to her time with the Rideshare Guy, Paula worked as a writer and editor for various publications including local newspapers, sporting goods catalogs, online merchandise and more. She currently has a full-time job editing for a top beauty company and enjoys reading, playing board games and participating in weekly trivia.