Uber plans to repay millions of dollars to its New York drivers after inadvertently shortchanging them due to a calculation error, the ride-hailing service said Tuesday. For years, Uber had been taking its commission from the full amount of the fare rather than the amount with taxes deducted, meaning drivers were losing a larger percentage of their earnings. “We are committed to paying every driver every penny they are owed—plus interest—as quickly as possible,” said Rachel Holt, Uber’s regional general manager for the U.S. and Canada. The company said “tens of thousands” of drivers have been affected by the mistake since late 2014. Uber’s repayment promise has done little to stem criticism over the mishap, however, with critics saying the glitch calls attention to bigger issues. The company has long been accused of deducting sales tax and the state’s 2.5 percent black-car surcharge from drivers’ earnings, a practice that has been called wage theft by critics. The New York Taxi Drivers Alliance on Tuesday said the company “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.” The company is already facing at least one lawsuit over allegedly making drivers take on the tax burden, though the company has maintained that it calculates tax deductions correctly.
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