It’s been a rough few weeks for rideshare drivers in the LA area due to Uber’s recent rate cuts where they slashed the per mile rate by 25%. As a result, we’ve seen a number of large protests in the LA area and around the country. But apparently, some L.A. City Councilmembers may have missed that memo, as there’s now talk of banning rooftop advertising on Uber and Lyft cars!
Big news in NYC – the New York City Council enacted major changes in drivers’ favor and against Uber/Lyft. What impact will these regulations have on drivers? Senior RSG contributor Christian Perea covers the latest below.
Yesterday, the New York City Council enacted some of the strictest regulations on Uber and Lyft in the nation when they passed a sweeping package aimed squarely at ride-hail companies and their drivers. The regulations in New York City will include a 1-year cap on allowing new Uber and Lyft cars in the city while also creating an earnings floor similar to a minimum wage for drivers, as well as several other new rules.
Ridesharing can be a lonely gig. Passengers are often absorbed in their phones or their own conversations, and other drivers are scattered across town, each in their own car. Since Uber and Lyft are app-based, there’s no lounge area for drivers to socialize with each other. But there are some real benefits to hanging out with other drivers!
For new drivers, this is especially true. Spending time with other drivers lets you gather valuable insight into your local rideshare market. Although we’ve got a ton of great advice on the blog, some aspects of ridesharing are unique to certain areas. For instance, local regulations regarding pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport vary wildly. Likewise, there may be some lesser-known hotspots with lots of passengers in your city that you might not be aware of.
Veteran drivers can also recommend things like clean 24-hour bathrooms, good spots for meals, and other local secrets that even the best rideshare blog (this one!) might not be able to tell you.
Last week I traveled up to Sacramento to testify in favor of AB 1727 – a bill in California that would give independent contractors the right to collectively bargain. It was introduced by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat representing the 80th Assembly District (South San Diego).
Although there’s been some media coverage for this bill, I hadn’t even heard of it until a staff member from Ms. Gonzalez’s office reached out to me. In short, the bill would allow for independent contractors, that operate through a mobile platform, to organize and collectively bargain with their employer. The bill would cover a lot of different industries but in my estimation, Uber drivers would be the largest group of workers affected.
Whenever you can get a whole lot of pissed off people in the same room to agree on the same thing, you have the opportunity to inflict some real change.
It seems like every year after Uber cuts rates in January, there are a whole lot of pissed off drivers. And every year after cuts, it seems like they all agree on the same thing, yet nothing ever really happens.
I don’t blame these drivers for being angry because I’m actually one of those pissed off drivers. I hate hearing ‘lower rates means higher earnings’ for drivers when that so clearly isn’t the case (anyone at Uber ever heard of expenses?). And to be perfectly frank, I’d rather write about how to be the best driver you can be as opposed to covering the dark side of rideshare. But for me, I don’t have much of a choice, since this isn’t exactly the type of issue you can sweep under the rug.
There are a lot of drivers out there who have invested time, money and effort to learn this industry, get good at it and thrive. And rate cuts can threaten all of that. Whether you’re an Uber driver or not, it doesn’t feel very good to go in to work one day only to find out that you’ll now be required to do the exact same job but for less pay. [Read more…]