Last month, senior RSG contributor John Ince wrote a controversial post on the Seven Stages of Rideshare Separation, where he outlined the steps some drivers take from getting started to becoming disillusioned and quitting rideshare driving. That post generated a ton of comments and emails, and many people asked us why even bother driving if it’s so terrible? So today, John Ince is back, describing why many drivers remain in the game and continue driving – and why many drivers stay.
Recently I was having a power breakfast with an old friend, a relationship that dates back 30 years, and he was fascinated to learn that I’ve been driving for Uber. My friend then confided that his firm is one of the early investors in Uber.
Thirty years ago, I was on an upward career trajectory with degrees from both Harvard College and Harvard Business School, and I had hired him on his first job and served as his supervisor. Today I’m an Uber driver (writing these blog posts and a book about the experience) and he’s a finance rock star. Go figure. Once the awkwardness of our role reversals faded, he started asking me a lot of questions.
I described the experience honestly, explaining the plusses and minuses of the job, with special emphasis on the multiple ways Uber misrepresents the nature of the gig. After hearing all the bad stuff about Uber, he then asked the billion dollar question, “Why then are so many drivers still doing it?”
I took a deep breath. “The answer is not simple. Different drivers have different reasons,” I explained. “It has as much to do with broader societal trends as it does to do with Uber and Lyft.” Since that breakfast, I’ve had ample time to reflect on my response, and here’s what I’ve come up with for why drivers continue to drive for Uber and Lyft.