The online transportation company, Uber, has revolutionized how we travel. The Smartphone based car service sends a car within 5 minutes of simply pushing a button, transforming the logistical composition of cities around the world. For these cities, Uber helps “strengthen local economies, improve access to transportation, and makes streets safer.” For passengers, getting from point A to point B has never been easier or more reliable. For drivers, however, the app’s overwhelming success and subsequent growth may have fractured what began as a flexible way to earn money into a fight for survival. The five minutes I had with my Friday night Uber driver (who has requested to remain anonymous) revealed a slightly darker side to the beloved car service.
Q: How long have you been driving for Uber?
A: I started driving with Uber in November of last year.
Q: Do you have another job?
A: No, this is my full time job.
Q: Are you from the area?
A: I live in the suburbs, in Malden.
Q: Why did you start driving for Uber?
A: I used to drive a cab and couldn’t afford a living so I started driving with Uber.
Q: Does the job pay you enough?
A: Honestly, no. I would maybe raise the rate a little bit.
Q: What is it like driving for Uber? Is there anything you would change?
A: Uber was a small company and it was good. Now Uber is too big, and they don’t care much about the drivers. When a company is small it is perfect because they care about you as a driver, but when they get too big they don’t care because they have too many drivers. There are 45,000 drivers in the city. For example, right now I could go get coffee, and then when I come back I am off the air and I can’t work because they turn me off. And tomorrow I have to go to the office and when you go to their office they treat you really crappy. I can’t miss my day of work. This is what I do for a living. I have to work. I have to feed my kids. Don’t turn me off on Friday night. So, a small company is always better than a big one, and Uber is getting too big to care about the drivers. Maybe they care about the passengers more and themselves, but they don’t care about the drivers. That’s the honest answer.