It appears that New Yorker drivers have had enough from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. So they decided to make their own server that’s operated and owned by the drivers themselves. Sounds too good to be true but the new service is called the Drivers Cooperative, kind of like the Driver’s Seat Cooperative that’s already working in Denver, Portland, and Los Angeles.
The new service started this Sunday and now New Yorkers have a third option to choose from. The Driver’s Cooperative talked with The New York Times, trying to spread awareness and talk about their initiative. The owners basically see their project as a way for drivers to avoid the constant exploitation of the big companies.
They say that companies like Uber and Lyft have made it hard for drivers to earn a living and distribute rides because of how little is known about how their algorithms work. Some Uber drivers in the UK even sued Uber saying that the company withholds personal data about drivers and that prevents them from understanding how the algorithm works. Apparently now knowing how things work impacts their livelihood.
If the Driver’s Cooperative takes off it could represent a new model for ride-sharing apps that potentially puts the needs of the drivers first. It’s unclear how this will affect the customer but I’m sure the people behind Driver’s Cooperative have thought about that. The main goal is to give drivers more control over their schedules and how they handle rides.
The co-founder of the service and labor organizer, Erik Forman, said that “I’ve never seen this hunger for change that exists with drivers. Every single transaction reveals exploitation. They feel like a way to regain control is to have control and ownership over the platform”. The gig companies have been blaming drivers whenever something goes wrong, exploiting their nature as a contractor.
They don’t offer proper benefits or any compensation to the drivers if something does go wrong. More than 2,500 drivers have already opted to switch to Driver’s Cooperative. The service will be distributing profits among drivers and even earn some more by selling traffic data just like what Driver’s Seat Cooperative does.
Maybe Uber and Lyft will take this as a wake-up call and start changing some of their policies before they lost all of their drivers to the new service.