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Worried about Uber and Lyft packing up and leaving town? Don't be.

The confusion and fear — driven by Uber and Lyft — following Minneapolis' passage of an ordinance requiring rideshare companies to pay at least minimum wage to drivers who work for them is unwarranted.

There is virtually no chance both Uber and Lyft will pack their bags and leave Minneapolis on May 1, if for no other reason than they know Minnesotans will quickly discover and begin using alternatives that are better for drivers, riders and cities.

One of those alternatives, Empower, is a software company I founded in 2019. Empower, as the name suggests, empowers its customers, drivers who wish to work for themselves instead of for a rideshare company. Empower provides software and services that enable drivers to set their own rates and get 100% of their hard-earned fares.

While Empower is new to Minnesota, over the past three years, our customers in Washington, D.C., have provided nearly 5 million rides to more than 200,000 riders. Last week alone, our customers provided over 60,000 rides to 20,000 riders in D.C. If Uber and Lyft leave the Twin Cities, Minnesotans can rest assured that Empower is prepared and already fully capable of providing the software, services and support needed to ensure that drivers themselves are able to provide every ride in Minnesota that would otherwise be provided by Uber or Lyft.

Our customers in D.C. are already achieving the goal — earning a sustainable income — of the recently passed Minneapolis rideshare ordinance. But just as important, with Empower drivers are able to build and grow their own business and determine their worth for themselves. Drivers are some of the hardest working folks in our communities, and while ensuring they can earn a sustainable living was a big part of why I started Empower, I was also moved to action by so many drivers telling me that they didn't feel they mattered to Uber or Lyft.

Empower's model is also better for riders. Although riders aren't our customers — they are our customers' customers, just like diners are OpenTable's customers' customers — because drivers get 100% of what riders pay (instead of the 50-60% paid by Uber or Lyft), they are able to charge riders a bit less and still make more money driving for themselves than they do driving for Uber or Lyft. Riders also love that drivers get 100% of what they pay.

Finally, Empower is better for cities. When local drivers make more money and local riders save on transportation, they have more money to spend at local businesses. In contrast, when Uber and Lyft make more money, their executives and shareholders have more money, and they don't spend it in Minnesota. In fact, just a few weeks ago, while claiming they can't afford to pay their drivers minimum wage, Uber's board announced that it would buy back $7 billion of stock and that it had awarded the CEO a $75 million bonus.

With Empower not taking a cut from each ride, everyone wins. Drivers make more money, riders save more money, local businesses do better and lawmakers no longer live under the threat that access to affordable transportation could be viciously cut off if they don't give in to Uber's and Lyft's demands. We have been in touch with Minneapolis and state policymakers, and we've made clear that if Uber and Lyft leave on May 1 there will be no impact whatsoever on the ability of drivers to provide rides to Minnesotans.

Empower is excited about empowering the Twin Cities, and hundreds of drivers in Minnesota have recently signed up to use our platform. So, when you hear concerns about transportation services disappearing from the community, know that Empower has the capacity, experience, technology and resources today to support Minnesota's hardworking drivers — and we can't wait to get started.

Joshua Sear is the CEO and founder of Empower.