I hate to say I told you so, but… no… wait… I actually kinda love saying I told you so:
Some UberX drivers in Seattle are no longer working for Uber as a way to protest how they’ve been treated by the transportation company.
About 100 drivers from a new group called Seattle Ride-Share Drivers Association gathered Wednesday to show their frustration with a recent price reduction Uber has implemented.
[…] The Seattle Ride-Share Drivers Association, which has 500 members, said Uber’s claim that its drivers are making more overall income is “unfounded.” It noted how some drivers, when expenses are accounted for, are actually now losing money when accepting a ride.
“No sensible person would stop working if he or she is making more money,” association board member Jamal Ahmed told GeekWire.
One of the more insulting and Orwellian attacks on me for advocating a more gradual and regulated entry of so-called “ride share” into Seattle’s taxi and for-hire market, was the charge that I was “anti-driver”—that I was shamelessly (and perhaps racistly) shilling for exploitive taxi owners at the expense of the city’s largely immigrant for-hire work force.
Well, you tell me: who is exploiting who?
Yes, under the old system we had a regulated monopoly with legal barriers to entry, but at least we had government regulators charged with looking out for the interests of drivers and consumers. But when Uber and Lyft are done with their creative destruction, there will be one, maybe two out-of-state for-profit monoliths dominating the market and dictating terms to drivers and customers alike.
Uber is going to have to do something to justify its $17 billion market capitalization. And as UberX drivers are beginning learn, that something will come at their expense.
Meanwhile, the lack of caps leaves aggrieved drivers nearly powerless to wage a meaningful protest. With over a thousand drivers in its system UberX apparently suffered no slow down in pick up times due to the labor action. It’s like UberX has a virtual scab feature built right in. Hooray for progress!