A year ago, I began driving for Lyft and Uber. It was a great time for new drivers as the cash incentives seemed to be generous and free flowing. The winter was a dry season, but that seemed to be expected. However, as the dry season has continued into spring and summer, the things I brushed off or didn’t’ pay attention to early on are all I think about while driving now.
Navigation is a learned skill most people are unaware they need.
navigation: the process or activity of accurately ascertaining one’s position and planning and following a route
- People generally don’t know where they are or where they’re going. Or rather, people generally can’t give actionable instructions on how to get to their destination.
- Many people speak of their location as if you are in their head or have all the knowledge of their placement that they do
- They can’t tell you how to get to them or how to get them where they’re going Directions are not a strong suit Cross streets, descriptors are not easy to understand
- The most common instruction I receive during drop off is, “Right here!” Which is never in the spot they actually want to stop at.
- People are confident in describing color in the dark. The blue house, the red building, the gray trim. Everything is black, white and shades of gray at night.
- People pay for a service and act like they own the provider and vehicle.
- There are so many different types of body order. I now wonder what I smell like to others.
- The idea of ride sharing is very communal. Unfortunately, the current structure is completely corporate in the most exploitative way. Uber and Lyft seem to take about 40-50% of the fares while not paying for any of the drivers expenses.
- Drivers are non-employees who bare all the expenses of customer-facing operations (gas, repairs, maintenance, wear and tear on their personal vehicles)
- In my first six weeks, I had five flat tires resulting in four new tires, five tows, a few expensive Uber and Lyft rides to/from repair shops, and days of missed work.
- In month four my transmission blew. First estimates were $8500-12000 for parts and labor. Lyft and Uber covered none of that. My third party warranty dragged approval for five months. During which time I rented a car they don’t want to reimburse me for.
- Depending on your payout choice, you may have to pay a fee to receive your wages
If you rent a car from the company, you pay for the rental from the 40-50% of the fare you receive (this seems like double-dipping on the company’s part)
- Lyft’s rental rates for a month can run from $1076-2200 or more depending on mileage purchase and insurance option
- They make you pay extra for “personal miles”
- The app will kick you offline if rides can’t be found, forcing you into using personal miles
- Lyft allows drivers to drive off the rental fee, similar to sharecropping.
- Uber offers rentals through known brands at near market rates but pay is upfront from your bank account and not connected to your driver profile.
Dissatisfaction comes quickly with unfair business practices
Dissatisfied workers begin to do the bare minimum when their labor and time are exploited
The current rideshare model is unsustainable for drivers long-term
Greed is a choice that isn’t necessary or ultimately productive.
Restaurant apps are a trap
- They entice with free or discounted food and drinks, and you end up getting things you never would have otherwise. I rarely ate fries when I worked at McDonald’s. Now I’m looking for the free medium with any purchase on Fridays and the $1.29 any size on other days. Just because it’s available.
Overall, I’ve become aware of how completely we are all consumers as givers and receivers of services and sellers and buyers of products.
Consumers have a particular mindset and expectation that is not necessarily conducive to communal sharing.
I’ve also become fully aware of how corporate every aspect of American life and business is. Corporate in the sense of structure and the pursuit of ever-increasing profit. Companies ultimately profit by increasing prices and lowering expenses, usually labor costs. In short, companies cycle between alienating their customer base and their labor force. The company rakes in the money without distributing sustaining satisfaction.