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Uber sees significant drop in orders stemming from two Seattle gig laws


(The Center Square) – New data from Uber adds to the growing concern that Seattle’s two app-based worker laws are harming couriers rather than helping them.

UberEats has reported a 30% decrease in order volumes in Seattle since the city’s App-Based Worker Minimum Payment Ordinance and the App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance went into effect on Jan. 13.

This aligns with Doordash’s latest data showing that in just over two weeks since the pay regulations launched, consumers have placed 30,000 fewer orders on the DoorDash Marketplace.

Both Uber and Doordash anticipate order volumes to continue to decrease as long as the two ordinances are in place.

Data from Uber also found that delivery drivers are spending on average 30% more time waiting for delivery requests than prior to the ordinance going into effect.

“We don’t see a similar shift for couriers in other U.S. markets,” Uber stated in a blog post on Medium on Feb. 23. “As a result, Seattle courier earnings during all hours online are flat to slightly down, albeit over a small sample period.”

The Center Square previously reported on app-based workers in Seattle spending eight or more hours waiting for an order to come in. Some delivery drivers said they may get two orders within an eight-hour day.

One worker said it took three hours before they got their first order while working on a weekday in Downtown Seattle.

The dramatic drop in orders is a direct response to the two ordinances intended to help app-based delivery drivers in Seattle receive fair wages.

The App-Based Worker Minimum Payment Ordinance requires network companies to pay the greater of a minimum per-minute amount of 44 cents and a minimum per-mile amount of 74 cents or a minimum per-offer amount of $5.

The App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance allows app-based workers to accrue one day of paid sick and safe time for every 30 days with at least one work-related stop in Seattle. This can include shopping at a store or making a delivery within city limits.

According to Washington Food Industry CEO Tammie Hetrick, digital sales for independent grocers are down roughly 10-12%.

“The data is clear: this ordinance is not working – in fact, it’s having a detrimental effect on businesses, workers and customers – especially those who depend on delivery for health and safety reasons,” Hetrick said in a statement from Washington Alliance for Innovation and Independent Work.

The Seattle City Council has recently said it has discussed a path forward with a potential repeal of the two gig laws.