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Ride-Hailing Drivers Are Slaves to the Surge

New York Times | Masha Goncharova

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/nyregion/uber-lyft-juno-ride-hailing.html

Excerpt:

“My friends don’t like their corporate jobs because there’s no flexibility,” Mr. Santos said. “So they say, ‘Maybe we’ll do Uber part-time instead.’”

He said he discouraged the change: “I tell them, ‘No way. You’ll lose money. There are so many expenses — maintenance, insurance, liability, the T.L.C. license, gas. And the only time you make real money is on surge — so you will miss family dinner and putting the kids to bed.’”

“But that’s the only way,” he added. “You have to treat it like an intense full-time job.”

To address these concerns, a coalition of New York City drivers and a regional branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers founded the Independent Drivers Guild in May.

Sohail Rana, 48, who drives for Uber and joined the guild in July, said he thought apps had made drivers “slaves to the surges.”

“We’re like sitting ducks,” said Mr. Rana, who started driving for UberBlack, the company’s high-end service, after business slowed for the private black car company he worked for, a downturn he attributed to the ride-hailing apps.

“They really just messed up the industry by saturating it so much,” he said. “It used to be that booking a black car would cost $100, $200 per hour.”

Drivers for UberBlack, which account for 6 percent of all Uber business in the city, by contrast, now earn about $33 per hour, he said. After expenses, Mr. Rana added, that amount was closer to $15 per hour.

According to James Conigliaro Jr., a founder of the guild, the 45,000 Uber drivers represented in the city are the victims of a “global bait-and-switch,” in which apps like Uber lure drivers with attractive fares only to extract ever-larger commissions and invest in driverless technology.

Read the full article at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/nyregion/uber-lyft-juno-ride-hailing.html

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