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Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:21 PM

How did Uber and Lyft get millions of ordinary Americans to drive for them?

Before rideshare became popular I don't think I ever seen a taxi driver that wasn't Indian or Middle Eastern. I never saw one that was female. But a large per cent of rideshare drivers are now white or native born Americans, and many are women.

It used to be the kind of job Americans would rarely ever do.

No matter how desperate I ever got for a job I never would even think about driving a taxi or being a rideshare driver. My car is my personal space. It would feel really weird to me driving around total strangers in my personal car. I don't understand why so many Americans are doing it.

If I was forced to choose I would rather drive a traditional taxi than rideshare. A taxi is a commercial vehicle designed for commercial use. For example, the floors are easy to clean if someone throws up in the car. There is bullet proof plexiglass separating you from your passengers. OTOH you have no protection at all in your personal car and are highly vulnerable to attack from a psycho or drunk passenger sitting in the back. Hardly a day goes by when you don't hear a horror story about an Uber or Lyft driver getting brutally attacked by their passenger, or even raped if the driver is female. Why are so many people still doing it??

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply How did Uber and Lyft get millions of ordinary Americans to drive for them? (Original post)
gyroscope Mar 3 OP
ansible Mar 3 #1
gyroscope Mar 3 #3
ansible Mar 3 #5
gyroscope Mar 3 #9
RKP5637 Mar 4 #18
JI7 Mar 3 #2
gyroscope Mar 3 #4
GulfCoast66 Mar 4 #23
brooklynite Mar 3 #6
GulfCoast66 Mar 4 #24
brooklynite Mar 4 #25
BigmanPigman Mar 3 #7
brooklynite Mar 3 #8
BigmanPigman Mar 3 #10
PTWB Mar 3 #17
crazycatlady Mar 3 #11
Arkansas Granny Mar 3 #14
smirkymonkey Mar 3 #16
marked50 Mar 3 #12
Arazi Mar 4 #20
stopbush Mar 4 #26
CentralMass Mar 3 #13
marybourg Mar 3 #15
IH8TU Mar 4 #19
lunasun Mar 4 #21
GulfCoast66 Mar 4 #22
LiberalBrooke Mar 4 #27
helpisontheway Mar 4 #28
anarch Mar 4 #29
aikoaiko Mar 4 #30
WeekiWater Mar 4 #31
RhodeIslandOne Mar 4 #32
cbdo2007 Mar 4 #33

Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:25 PM

1. Do you live in a rural area? It's pretty important if you live in cities

Owning a car is pretty impractical in many cities, Uber successfully capitalized on a demand for cheaper, more reliable transport that isn't a ripoff like taxis are.

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Response to ansible (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:27 PM

3. That doesn't answer the question

of why so many native-born Americans are driving for Uber and Lyft

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Response to gyroscope (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:37 PM

5. Well it's easy money, pretty much that

I seriously looked into doing it too, but after doing some research and taking into consideration the cost of wear and tear on your car, it's not really that much better than a minimum wage job. Still has the advantage of being your own boss though, which appeals to many as well.

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Response to ansible (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:46 PM

9. Being your boss

or at least the perception of being your own boss.
that seems to be part of the appeal - having no supervisors constantly breathing down your neck.

also a lot of slick marketing on the part of rideshare companies to attract drivers, with promises of great earnings. commercials for rideshare drivers seem to have saturated the airwaves and internet.

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Response to ansible (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 12:05 AM

18. I would think you would really burn through cars with maintenance and all, wear and tear, tires ...

all that stuff.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:27 PM

2. there is flexibility with uber and Lyft. people can work when they want to

many have other jobs also. there is more independence in it.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:35 PM

4. That explains some of it

its extremely easy to be a rideshare driver. just sign up through the app on your phone.

I think what explains it more is automation as well as the exportation of jobs overseas.

For example, millions of white Americans who used to be a cashier at a grocery or big box store are out of a job caused by the rise of self-check-out automation. Many have probably resorted to doing rideshare.

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Response to gyroscope (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 02:05 AM

23. Maybe where you live. But here jobs are plentiful.

And I have only met one Uber driver doing it full time. If it existed when I was younger and just starting to earn money I would have done it.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:42 PM

6. In NYC, you wouldn't be "driving around total strangers in my personal car."

Every for-hire vehicle is licensed by the Taxi & Limousine Commission.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 02:09 AM

24. But does the driver get much of the fare?

Havenít been to NYC in 15 years. But then you had to have a decal or some such thing and the driver did not own it. Most of my cab drivers did not seem to be thriving.

And the cars where really shitty and not that clean. My Uber experiences far top those rides.

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #24)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 07:07 AM

25. Licensed cabs are owned by fleet owners and leased for the day

For-hire vehicles used for Uber and Lyft are generally owned by the driver.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:43 PM

7. I have never taken a ride in them out of fear for my safety.

No way do I ever plan to in the future as long as cabs still exist. Not worth the risk!!!

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:44 PM

8. You realize that your trip, your name and the driver's name are all logged?

What are you afraid of?

FWIW, the only trip where I felt at risk from unsafe driving was a licensed NYC taxi.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:46 PM

10. I just do not trust them.

I have read and heard of too many stories to take the chance if I don't have to.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #10)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 11:47 PM

17. I think you've probably fallen for some fear hype...

Millions use ride shares regularly and without problems. A rideshare is probably the worst place for some deranged criminal to do you harm. Your name and locations, and THEIR name, is all logged in the computer. If they were to do something to you, theyíd immediately be discovered.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:53 PM

11. I've only been in one once

And that was company paid (a ride to the airport) and in a group.

Most of the time I am a female traveling alone. I don't get in strange cars because I fear my safety. I'd rather use my own car or mass transit.

ETA I can count the number of times I've been in a cab on one hand. I also do not live in a city. I go to NYC frequently but those are NJ Transit/subway.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 11:14 PM

14. I've used Uber several times and prefer it our our local cab company.

The cars are clean, the drivers have all been courteous and I've never feared for my safety.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 11:40 PM

16. I use them all the time and have never had a problem.

The advantages over a taxi are that the cars are clean, well maintained, the drivers are usually very polite, and they often have water bottles and snacks (mints, candies, granola bars, etc.).

The one downside is that they don't know the roads like cabbies do, so you sometimes have to watch them because the GPS isn't always accurate. Most of them will let you guide your own route, but occasionally you will get one who insists on following the GPS which is annoying if you know where you are going.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 10:54 PM

12. Overall, I think the answer to your question

is that people are in financial desperate straights. They need the money and this is a pretty direct way to get it. It is a way to drive people to the "independent contractor" form of employment. Forget Unions or traditional employer/employer relationships. Another step down for labor- pure and simple. Income inequality accelerates.

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Response to marked50 (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 12:48 AM

20. +1 million

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Response to marked50 (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 07:12 AM

26. Bingo!

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 11:00 PM

13. They need the extra $$.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2019, 11:33 PM

15. In my younger days,

ordinary Americans definitely DID do this job. 2nd and third generation white Americans; Jews, Irish, blacks, etc. They bought modest homes, took vacations, and send children to college on their earnings as cab drivers in nyc. Some, but not all, owned their own taxi.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 12:41 AM

19. After following these subs

 

on Reddit for several months, I discovered that most drivers do Uber and Lyft just to earn a little extra money. Very few people drive full time.

https://www.reddit.com/r/uber/

https://www.reddit.com/r/uberdrivers/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Lyft/

https://www.reddit.com/r/lyftdrivers/

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 01:22 AM

21. I can't believe how many people here are afraid of ride shares on this thread . Seems odd to

me being in Chicago and using them all the time

For drivers : They not only can turn on turn off when they want to work but also as a rideshare driver you can take your car to any area to get riders and pick up the requests ..or not

You could just do uber eats as work I believe and just transport food to people only the food is in the car
Yes of course that sushi roll could be a ploy and just ordered for you to come to their door so they can open the door and kill you

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 01:58 AM

22. Extra cash?

I use Uber all the time now. Iím over 50 and did not trust it at first. But I find it great.

Iím chatty so always engage in conversation. Most of the drivers I have had are either bored retirees looking for extra cash and something to do or employed folks doing a 2nd job that is very flexible. When younger and not making much money I always had a second job and would have loved the flexibility Uber provides.

The only person doing it full time I have met had a wife with a good job and generous vacation. Driving for Uber paid for their vacations and he did not have to worry about getting time off.

Now that they allow a tip I donít worry about taking advantage of them. Often my tip is more than the fare.

I was a sceptic. No any more.


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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 08:07 AM

27. They make it easy to work around your schedule.

It is easy to sign up and easy to do on your own time. Drivers just log in when they are available. The simplicity of being able to earn money during the odd hours you have time to drive is the key to their success getting people to work for them.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 08:23 AM

28. My 25 year old recently signed up for Uber..

He quit a good paying job back in October because he was not happy. Tried sales for four months and could not make enough. We have been helping him financially to make ends meet. He accepted a very good job last week. Unfortunately it will be awhile before he gets his first check. I told him we would help him out but I guess that is not enough. We canít pay all of his expenses because we have another son in college. So he plans to drive Uber on his off days until he gets his first check. His friend suggested it to him. Iím so worried about it. He told me his plans right after I watched this 20/20 special about this psycho Uber driver that killed all these people in one night. Of course my fear is the opposite. What if he picks up some psych person.. Hope he gets his first check very soon so he will not need to drive for Uber.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 08:32 AM

29. I have a good friend who drives for the rideshare companies

I've never really asked him directly, but I think his motivation was basically to not starve...he hadn't been able to find a "traditional" job for quite a while, and had to do something, and had a car...and it seemed easy enough to get the job. Or "gig" or whatever. I don't know how many people do this kind of thing as a "temporary" or "supplemental" source of income (like all the teachers who have been probably somewhere around 40% of all the rideshare drivers whose cars I've ridden in. which admittedly is a small sample; I don't get out much and no longer live in a city-center location, so I have my own car now anyway), but it seems some people like the flexibility, etc.

I don't see this kind of thing lasting for very long; it strikes me as truly predatory on the part of Uber in particular, the way they don't have any regular employees, but everyone's a "contractor" and responsible for themselves, really...and they have an unlimited labor force thanks to wage stagnation, etc., such that the majority of our population is not really economically secure in any meaningful way and always needs "extra cash"...but still Uber makes all the money. What a racket.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 08:43 AM

30. It's really difficult to become a taxi driver

Medallions are expensive.

Uber and Myft made it easy to enter and leave the service.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 09:04 AM

31. I have used Uber a total of three times.

Each time the person told me they really loved driving for Uber. All three were really nice people with nice clean cars. One had been an Uber driver since it started. His goal was $150/day. He drove for Lyft as well. The other recently moved to the area, he wife had a job, he had yet to secure one. The last was a retired man who drove a couple of days a week for a little extra cash. Not sure how much extra cash he makes as his vehicle was powered by over 300 hp.

All three were really good experiences. Two of the three were very nice vehicles. The third vehicle(long-time Uber driver) was an older Prius that was very clean. He was saving to buy another used Prius as next year he believes Uber will no longer allow him to drive that old of a car. Still, it rode great and was very clean.

As a user it has been great.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 09:32 AM

32. Because it lets them think they are in control

And people are in need of every little dollar.

Unlike you, a lot of people feel that in their own vehicle they can control the situation. Also, the idea of safeguards the app provides would seem to make it highly unlikely a rapist or a robber is going to try to use the system to get what they want.

But I agree, I'm not even worried about the criminal element. Carting around drunk people who might puke in my car holds me back from considering it seriously.

I have used Lyft as a rider to get my car back from the shop once though. I really don't have good taxi or bus options here.

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Response to gyroscope (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2019, 10:06 AM

33. 3 of the 4 people I know who drive Uber don't need the money

Sure it is anecdotal, but I know 4 people who drive Uber. One is a social worker who doesn't make any money doing that and does desperately need money.

The other 3...two are currently in IT, including a Director at his company who makes $150,000 at his IT job, yet drives Uber on the weekends because he is bored. The other one currently in IT also makes 6 figures at his day job but it's nice and easy to get some extra cash for whatever, so he does it during lunch break and for an hour each day after work because it is easy, and half the time he can find someone going near where he lives from around where he works, so he would be making that drive anyways.

The fourth guy has also been in IT his whole life and is retired with multi-million dollar retirement fund. He's also just bored and very social and enjoys giving local recommendations. It is completely flexible and gives him something to do.

The reason people do it is that it is easy to get started and easy to do and you can get some quick cash. Your expenses are absorbed into your regular expenses so it doesn't seem like that big of a deal (everyone is going to have a car payment and be getting gas either way).

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