565: Rideshared

A Thousand Things to Talk About
565: Rideshared

Should Lyft, Uber and other similar services be subject to the same rules and regulations as taxis?

Full episode script

Innovation and change in any sector of the economy often comes with growing pains, and has since the beginning of innovation. Those growing pains often start with the existing, entrenched organizations fighting against it.


Sometimes, they are simply fighting against something because it is new and threatens their way of life. Other times, they’re fighting for very good reasons that are in the interests of society at large.


And there’s a big debate right now as to where ride-sharing quote-unquote technology services and taxi companies are starting to butt heads, and butt heads hard.


In 2017, the European Court of Justice ruled that Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies should be regulated the same as transport-for-hire organizations. That means that anyone driving for those organizations as independent contractors or employees is subject to the same background checks, taxes, regulations, and limits as taxi drivers.


In the United States, there’s a much wider debate and discussion about how these companies should be approached.  Uber and Lyft are fighting hard for their services to be allowed under exemptions or deregulation of ride-hailing companies, and that’s resulted in some interesting changes. As Bloomberg reported in 2017, quote:

The effort changed both industries. Across the “rides” industry, the number of independent contractors has grown by 174 percent in five years, compared with only 21 percent for cab company drivers, according to a Brookings Institution analysis.


And even against a backdrop of regulation, there’s also a consideration of if driving others around can even mean a living wage. In December of 2017, Marketwatch reported that while Uber advertises their drivers making $90,000 per year in New York City,  independent analysis find most drivers make about $7 per hour after expenses, which is well under half of the living wage for a single person in that same city.


Looking for something to listen to this weekend?

May I suggest Everything Is Alive? This is a new show from RadioTopia, and let me tell you, the first episode seriously Blew My Socks Off. It’s audio fiction, but in the most interesting way. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was happily surprised.  


This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.