Is the Co-op Ride app the savior to the gig economy and its plethora of problems?
What may have initially attracted drivers to work for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft was a sense of freedom. They could make their own hours and, in theory, the money they’d make would be a direct result of how much they chose to work.
In other words, they would be in control of the fruits of their labor. However, this is not the case. Working in the gig economy is not always as profitable as it may seem.
The problems within the gig economy
Companies like Uber and Lyft tend to exploit their drivers. According to The New York Times, drivers “[struggle] with the costs of vehicle maintenance, loans and insurance, and they [question] whether Uber and Lyft paid a fair wage.”
Moreover, The Drivers Cooperative reveals that 91 percent of Uber and Lyft employees are immigrants, and they are pressing these drivers into poverty by taking 40 percent commission. These rideshare companies are greedily exploiting people who our society already tries to take advantage of.
With these facts in mind, it makes sense why drivers disillusioned with Uber and Lyft would want more control over their labor and payment. A former Uber employee started The Drivers Cooperative for this very reason.
The Drivers Cooperative
The Drivers Cooperative is a “driver-owned ridehailing cooperative in New York City.” With drivers having ownership shares, they get more profit and agency over their labor.
“Members of The Drivers Cooperative make 8-10% more on each trip than on Uber and Lyft, and all profits go back to drivers as dividends,” according to their website. They will also charge less for rides.
“While Uber and Lyft make their money for Wall Street and Silicon Valley investors, we will be a co-operative. So any profits will go back to the drivers.”Ken Lewis, The Drivers Cooperative
So far, The Drivers Cooperative has recruited over 2000 drivers, so it looks like it might truly give Uber and Lyft in New York City a run for their money.
Why you should support worker-owned businesses
Many beneficial consequences result from worker cooperatives like The Drivers Cooperative. Here are a few:
- They support individuals, creating empowering jobs for workers
- These businesses are more likely to use sustainable practices, as the owners are community members.
- Helps reduce the wage gap
- They have the same profit motivation as other companies
If you’d like to support more equitable business, ride with The Drivers Cooperative and download the Co-op ride app. Co-ops are changing the ways businesses are run, and you should encourage that change.