From the November-December 2016 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—To drive for Uber you have to have a fairly new car, which you can lease from a third party. But if you’ve got marginal credit, the lease rates and insurance costs are very high. Uber took almost $200 every week out of my checking account to pay for the car I leased from a dealer.
Any money you make driving goes into that account after Uber takes its share. When I hadn’t made enough, I had to deposit money from my other employment to cover the $200. If you get behind, they charge a $25 late fee. This happened to me for several months.
If you are two weeks behind, they will turn the car off. You cannot get into it or start it until you pay. I was out of town when they turned my car off. Thankfully the car was parked. I called them and told them I didn’t have the money that day and would leave the car where it was and take the train home. They didn’t want the car abandoned, so they gave me a grace period.
Uber dropped the rates for riders because of competition, meaning the rates for drivers dropped too. I just wasn’t making enough money to make it worthwhile.
Since they say we are independent contractors, we have to register our “business” with the county. My daughter as a mother on welfare thought driving for Uber with its flexible hours would be a good fit for her. I suggested she not do that. I thought it might drive her into depression to experience what I did.
Uber is taking over the old Sears building in Oakland, but I know there won’t be any jobs there for my people. Uber wants to eliminate all drivers. Why would you do that? Why would you eliminate the entire work force? It is a capitalist imperative. I feel really badly that this whole planet will go the way of the dinosaurs.
—Driver abused by Uber