It’s sickening. I have just finished learning about Gary Branson, an Uber driver who works 60 hours a week and is still homeless. The reality is that Gary is not the only Uber driver experiencing poverty conditions and homelessness.
Gary’s home, for now, is his car. He parks his car in the carpark on a beachfront and tries to get a few hours sleep. He stores any personal belongings in a duffle bag in his boot and joined a Gym so he can shower. Eating out costs more then if you had somewhere to cook. Out of the $1200 per week Gary earns he has fuel, car maintenance, insurance and a stream of other costs to cover. Not much is left for Gary to actually live on.
Gary’s saving grace is not California’s AB5 law, but what happens after the AB5 law is passed. Gary and other Uber drivers will be able to form a union and begin to negotiate a more reasonable percentage of ride fares for drivers to keep. Uber’s cut is generally 30%, but he and other drivers say that’s too much, and that Uber sometimes takes much more than the 30%.
Personally I love the Uber service and Uber drivers and I will not be ever going back to a traditional taxi service. But I am finding it hard to want to use Uber when I know that I’m helping promote poverty wages and slave labour through the direct use of Uber’s services.
We as humans need to do more to help Uber drivers out of the hole they are in, the vicious cycle of not having enough money to explore other opportunities means driving more and more for Uber just to try to make ends meet.
Uber has a major disregard for its current fleet of drivers, claiming ‘Well, we’re just going to replace them all with robots’