Uber announced a multi million dollar mistake this week, admitting to miscalculating New York City driver commissions for over two years. The New York Times reports that the company has been pulling cuts of driver earnings based on the full user fare, rather than taking state taxes into account. This resulted in millions of dollars that drivers did not receive.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber could owe drivers at least $45 million, an amount that Rachel Holt, Uber’s regional manager for the U.S. and Canada, says will be paid back in full.
“We are committed to paying every driver every penny they are owed – plus interest – as quickly as possible,” she said in an email to Reuters.
Uber has been praised for reducing drunk driving accidents, incidents that injure a person every two minutes in the United States. While this evidence has been contested, there is no doubt that ride-sharing has become a popular form of transportation. Uber alone has about 8 billion users worldwide.
The New York Times reports that Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, seems to deduct sales tax from driver earnings as well, though the company allegedly declined to comment. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance said in a statement to The New York Times that this pay shortage represents more than a corporate error.
“From the beginning, Uber built its business model on the assumption that ‘we hate taxes,'” the advocacy group said. “Uber hasn’t just wrongly calculated its commission; it has been unlawfully taking the cost of sales tax and an injured-worker surcharge right out of driver pay.”
This is one of multiple times that Uber has been under fire this year, having halted their self-driving car program following a crash in Arizona . Uber launched its autonomous vehicle program in partnership with Volvo. While the auto company is dropping their diesel fuel models, which are 20 to 40% more efficient than gasoline counterparts, they will be sticking with Uber for the time being.