So what do Uber drivers actually think?
There has been much debate about ridesharing and its implication on the marketplace and political landscape. Policymakers and candidates have taken different approaches to addressing these questions. In fact, we at R Street have contributed extensively to this discussion about the sharing economy in general.
While talking heads and editorial boards continue to discuss the implications of the sharing economy, it is important to hear the voices on the front lines, the actual drivers (both Uber and taxi).
Recently Zach Weissmueller of Reason TV filmed interviews with Uber and taxi drivers as he commuted around Los Angeles. The 10-minute video includes footage of interviews with three Uber drivers who have very different perspectives on their work and the political cloud swirling around the company. The video also interviews two individuals within the taxi industry.
I think the perspectives manifested in the video reflect what I have encountered using the service in D.C. The first driver described driving for Uber as a fun “part-time hustle,” but wouldn’t recommend it as a full-time job because the driving “really kills your car for only $10 an hour (after taxes).” At the other end of the spectrum was an immigrant who is satisfied with his work as an Uber driver because it enables him to send extra money back to his family in Africa.
Zach also interviewed William Rouse, general manager for Yellow Cab Los Angeles, to discuss the differences between the background check process Uber utilizes and that of Rouse’s own company. The video also documents an encounter with a taxi driver who preferred not to discuss anything with the Reason film crew.
In my time as an urban commuter, using both taxi services and ridesharing apps (both Lyft and Uber), I have encountered drivers with a wide array of personalities, perspectives on the latest developments in commuting options and driving abilities. This video was a helpful introduction to the many different types of drivers out there.
Next time you hail a cab or summon an Uber, take the opportunity to learn about your drivers, asking questions like Zach does in the video. Most of the drivers I have met are happy to talk about their experiences. It’s a fun and informative way to meet people and gain anecdotal perspective on the ridesharing discussion.