Uber Drivers Are Helping the Company Kill Their Own Jobs

Uber needs only a few more years to start its driverless mobility services. Meanwhile its million-plus self-employed drivers are providing the company with money, data, and future customers before their jobs get permanently ditched.

2 minute read

December 14, 2016, 7:00 AM PST

By PabloValerio @pabl0valerio

What Uber has done, since it started seven years ago, is to lay a sweet trap for people willing to become taxi drivers, but without the means and qualifications to get a license. Initially Uber advertised itself as a “sharing economy” enterprise, allowing any safe driver to augment his/her income by working a few hours a week providing rides.

Back in 2014, in an interview during the Code Conference, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick claimed that the more drivers there are out there, the more reliable the service, the more trips per hour every driver can do. As pick up times get shorter, he argued, drivers will be going from trip to trip without down time. “When trips per hour go up, then pricing can come down, and they can make the same income,” he said. “When pricing comes down you can bring more riders and drivers into the system.” None of this is a selling point for Uber drivers.

A recent report by British MP Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, found that Uber drivers are “feeling forced to work extremely long hours, sometimes more than 70 a week, just to make a basic living,” and that Uber “treats its drivers as Victorian-style ‘sweated labour’.”

Asked about self-driving cars, Kalanick was clear about the future: “Look, this is the way the world is going. If Uber doesn’t go there, it’s not going to exist either way. ”

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 in Cities of the Future

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

Renewable Energy

Just Transition: Bringing Equity to the Clean Energy Conversation

A new report from the Environmental Defense Fund offers a roadmap for countries, energy companies, and other stakeholders to navigate the complexities of transitioning to clean energy while ensuring equity at every step of the process.

27 minutes ago - Environmental Defense Fund

Black car parked in bike lane

New App Pays Users to Report Illegally Parked Cars

A Swedish company is leveraging the power of crowdsourcing and the gig economy to enforce parking laws.

1 hour ago - Euronews

Close-up of row of slot machines in dark casino.

New York Casinos Gain Zoning Change Approval

The new process will let casino projects avoid undergoing a separate land use review in certain circumstances.

2 hours ago - The Real Deal

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.