Uber and Lyft will pay the legal fees of drivers sued under Texas’ new abortion law

Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft said Friday they would cover any legal fees incurred by their drivers if they were sued for taking passengers to receive an abortion in Texas.

  • Uber and Lyft said they’ll pay the legal fees of drivers sued under Texas’s new abortion law.
  • Under the law, anyone who transports a woman to receive an abortion after six weeks of gestation can be sued.
  • “Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why,” Lyft said in a statement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber and Lyft will cover any legal fees incurred by their drivers if they were sued for taking passengers to receive an abortion after six weeks of gestation under Texas’ harsh new abortion law.

“Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why,” Lyft said in a statement Friday. “Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride. Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why.

“Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a healthcare appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you for fear of breaking a law. Both are completely unacceptable,” the ride-share company added.

Lyft said it established its Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of the legal fees that its drivers could potentially incur under the law. The legislation, known as a heart “heartbeat” abortion ban, bars abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected – about six weeks into a pregnancy – before some women are even aware they’re pregnant, as Insider previously reported.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi made a similar pledge to cover legal fees for drivers in a tweet on Friday afternoon.

“Right on @logangreen – drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go,” Khosrowshahi said, sharing a tweet from Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green, announcing its policy. “Team @Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push.”

The legislation, which is similar to abortion bans introduced in other GOP-led states, was signed by Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, but it was met with legal challenges. The US Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the law, allowing it to take effect September 1.

Unlike similar laws in other states, the Texas legislation allows private Texas citizens to enforce the ban by reporting and suing individuals who they believe obtained an abortion or helped another person obtain an abortion – including those who drive others to get the procedure and those with no personal connection to the person who underwent the procedure.

Texas citizens can be awarded up to $10,000 for every successful lawsuit and have their legal fees covered, Insider previously reported.

While the ban has exceptions to allow abortions in the case of medical emergencies, it contains no exceptions for instances of rape or incest.

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Uber.

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New York’s hottest ride-hailing service is the taxi

Taxi cabs drive through streets of Manhattan, NYC
New York City cabs hailed through Curb saw a 152% increase between April and July 2021.

  • Taxi cabs hailed through Curb saw a whopping 152% increase between April and July in NYC.
  • Average ride prices for taxis dropped in NYC, while fares for Uber and Lyft have increased.
  • Curb vice president Jason Gross said better tech is helping taxis catch up to gig economy companies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York City taxis are coming to dethrone Uber and Lyft from e-hailing dominance.

Cabs hailed through Curb, a mobile app hailing cabs and paying fares, saw a whopping 152% increase between April and July 2021 in NYC, and monthly average downloads off the app are up 70% this year compared to 2018, according to Curb data reviewed by Insider.

The number of people booking taxis through the app is growing at a faster rate than those booking Ubers and Lyfts, according to data from Superfly Insights. Curb roughly doubled its user numbers between the first and second quarters of 2021, while Uber and Lyft only increased by about one-third.

Curb taxi data in NYC
Taxi rides are rising faster than Uber and Lyft rides, according to data from Superfly, which analyzes anonymous spending data.

Curb’s recent popularity could stem from surging prices for Uber and Lyft. The average ride price for an Uber or Lyft increased to $27 from $22 between January to June of this year, according to data from Superfly.

Curb, meanwhile, has seen average ride prices between January and June drop to $13.63 in 2021 from $16.46 in 2020 and $16.89 in 2019. Unlike the apps, NYC taxis are beholden to a meter, which charges $2.50 plus 50 cents per half mile – and doesn’t have any fancy algorithms to increase the price according to demand.

Read more: These 13 ultrafast-delivery companies have raised over $7 billion and are bringing customers their groceries in as little as 10 minutes

Uber and Lyft reported rising fares amid a struggle to find drivers. More than half of Lyft and Uber drivers stopped driving during the COVID-19 pandemic, per an analysis by Insider’s Tom Dotan, and the number of drivers across the country in March 2021 was 35% lower than in January 2021.

Jason Gross, vice president and head of mobile at Curb, said hailing a taxi through a phone is oftentimes faster than finding one on the street. The company has implemented changes to improve its ride-hailing service and ramped up marketing for the platform over the last year, he said.

Because of cabs’ lower prices, Gross said the platform also benefited from its inclusion in Transit, a New York City transportation app that compares prices between ride-hailing, taxis, and other forms of transportation.

smartphone app Curb shows taxis nearby
The Curb app lets customers and drivers see the price and earnings for the trip when booking a ride.

“I feel like [gig economy companies] haven’t succeeded in driving the entire industry out of business,” Gross told Insider regarding the taxi industry. “A lot of people said these gig economy companies transformed the industry through the use of technology, but what they really did is they created an unrealistic market.”

Gross added hailing a taxi offers customers benefits they can’t get from Lyft or Uber, other than slightly lower fares.

Curb also allows drivers to see the amount of money they will earn from a trip upfront. Lyft does not begin calculating driver earnings until one minute after arriving at a destination, and Uber calculates earnings on a weekly cycle.

Gross said taxi drivers have thanked Curb for allowing them to win back business from Lyft, Uber, and other competitors.

“In general, I feel the perception is we’re a more trustworthy company to deal with because we’re not rapidly changing and gamifying what they earn or don’t earn from minute-to-minute or day-to-day,” Gross said.

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An Uber driver in Miami was brutally attacked by her passenger after picking them up outside a hospital as ride-hailing carjacks surge

uber app open in front of chicago skyline
“Criminals are purchasing ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft and using it as an opportunity to victimize the drivers by stealing their vehicles,” Atlanta’s police department said.

  • Uber driver Liudmila Valladares was attacked last week by a passenger who then stole her car.
  • 11 Uber and Lyft drivers have died this year during 124 carjacking incidents, The Markup reported.
  • The Atlanta police department said criminals are using ride-hailing apps to target vulnerable drivers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Liudmila Valladares, an Uber driver from Miami, was attacked last week while picking up a passenger outside of Mount Sinai Medical Center, Local 10 News first reported.

She was left with a large purple bruise beneath her right eye, where police say the 19-year-old accused of the attack hit Valladares before pushing her out of the car and stealing the vehicle.

Edward Milo was arrested on charges of robbery and carjacking, according to a police report.

“We are appalled by this senseless act of violence,” an Uber spokesperson told Insider. “We’ve reached out to Liudmila to check on her well-being and stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.”

Carjacking and other violent assaults on drivers have increased during the pandemic across the country, leaving rideshare drivers vulnerable to the trend.

Drivers for popular apps Lyft and Uber have been carjacked at least 124 times this year, The Markup reported, and 11 of those drivers were killed.

According to an analysis by The Markup, 75 of the carjacking attacks were perpetrated by the drivers’ passengers. This was the case when Lyft driver Cynthia Norman picked up two men late at night – she told The Markup she was trying to make extra money to pay for her husband’s hospital bill.

The man sitting behind Norman grabbed her neck while the other punched her across the face, the police report says. After refusing to exit the vehicle, they tried dragging her out. Norman was then able to grab her gun and fire at the two attackers, who quickly ran away.

The Atlanta police department recently announced they are investigating eight cases of car thefts involving Uber and Lyft drivers.

“Criminals are purchasing ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft and using it as an opportunity to victimize the drivers by stealing their vehicles,” Captain Peter Malecki said.

He added that the attackers often attempt to “lure the driver out of his or her vehicle” by asking for help opening the trunk.

Drivers told The Markup that Uber and Lyft have not been helpful in the aftermath of carjacking. 71-year-old David Morrow said Uber asked him to sign an NDA after his car was stolen at gunpoint while driving for the app.

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft and we are working closely with law enforcement to help keep drivers safe,” a Lyft spokesperson told Insider. “We continuously invest in new products and policies to help protect drivers, and are exploring ways to expand the use of our safety features to help prevent these incidents from happening and support drivers if they do.”

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California judge rules Prop 22 unconstitutional, dealing blow to gig worker initiative backed by Uber and Lyft

Rideshare driver Jorge Vargas raises his No on 22 sign in support as app based gig workers held a driving demonstration with 60-70 vehicles blocking Spring Street in front of Los Angeles City Hall urging voters to vote no on Proposition 22, a November ballot measure that would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors and not employees or agents, providing them with an exemption from Californias AB 5.
Rideshare driver Jorge Vargas raises his No on 22 sign in support as app based gig workers held a driving demonstration with 60-70 vehicles blocking Spring Street in front of Los Angeles City Hall urging voters to vote no on Proposition 22, a November ballot measure that would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors and not employees or agents, providing them with an exemption from Californias AB 5. The action is part of a call for stronger workers rights organized by the Mobile Workers Alliance with 19,000 drivers in Southern California and over 40,000 in all of California.

  • A California judge ruled that Proposition 22, passed by voters in November, is unconstitutional.
  • Prop 22 exempted food delivery and ride-hailing workers from state labor law protections.
  • An industry-backed PAC supporting Prop 22 said it will appeal the ruling.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In a huge setback for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled Friday that Proposition 22, a measure that allowed gig companies to classify their app-based drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, is unconstitutional.

In a lawsuit filed by the Service Employees International Union, Roesch ruled that Prop 22 is “unenforceable” because several sections are unconstitutional under California law. That included a requirement that a seven-eighths majority of the legislature approve amendments, creating a “near impossibility” that any changes could be made.

Roesch also found that Prop 22’s ban on workers’ ability to collectively bargain violated California’s requirement that ballot measures be limited to a single subject with provisions related to that subject.

“A prohibition on legislation authorizing collective bargaining by app-based drivers does not promote the right to work as an independent contractor, nor does it protect work flexibility, nor does it provide minimum workplace safety and pay standards for those workers,” Roesch wrote, adding: “It appears only to protect the economic interest of the network companies in having a divided, ununionized workforce, which is not a stated goal of the legislation.”

Geoff Vetter, spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition (PADS), a political action committee (PAC) organized by gig companies to support the ballot initiative, said an appeal would be filed immediately to stay the decision.

Uber and DoorDash, in separate statements sent to Insider, both pushed back on the ruling. Lyft and Instacart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“This ruling ignores the will of the overwhelming majority of California voters and defies both logic and the law. You don’t have to take our word for it: California’s Attorney General strongly defended Prop 22’s constitutionality in this very case,” Uber said in their statement, adding: “We will appeal and we expect to win. Meanwhile, Prop 22 remains in effect, including all of the protections and benefits it provides independent workers across the state.”

The ballot measure, which was on California ballots during the November 2020 election, was approved by 59% of voters. Written and funded by gig companies, Prop 22 exempted ride-hailing and food delivery companies from complying with state labor laws that would have required them to reclassify their workers as employees and provide them with benefits like a minimum wage, worker’s compensation, and health care.

Instead, the gig companies would provide them with limited benefits, such as minimum earnings, healthcare subsidies, and vehicle insurance under Prop 22.

“Prop 22 is not just harmful for gig workers – it is also dangerous for our democracy. This fight is not over until all gig workers receive the living wages, benefits, and voice on the job they have earned,” said Shona Clarkson, a lead organizer for Gig Workers Rising, a community of app- and platform-based workers organizing for better wages, working conditions, and jobs.

Gig companies have already started to push copycat bills in other states.

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Uber, Tesla, and Rivian are fighting each other for talent. Here’s how much they pay their employees.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Tesla has a new crop of rivals, including Rivian, with which it’s competing for talent.

  • Filings companies share with the US government show how much they pay some employees.
  • Insider has analyzed filings from companies in the EV, self-driving, and ride-hailing industries.
  • Those companies include Tesla, Uber, and Rivian.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The war for talent between transportation technology companies is heating up, as the incumbents and upstarts poach employees from each other.

Filings submitted to the US government by high-profile electric-vehicle, autonomous-vehicle, and ride-hailing companies like Tesla, Waymo, and Uber provide a glimpse of their compensation practices. The documents are not comprehensive, as they only track employees from outside the US, but they provide detail on pay rates for a variety of positions that isn’t always available on public job listings.

Insider has analyzed pay data for some of today’s most impactful transportation companies, as well as younger firms that have captured the attention of venture capitalists and corporate investors like Amazon.

You can take a look at some of the data below.

Electric vehicles

REVEALED: How much Tesla pays its employees, from software engineers to product managers

REVEALED: How much Rivian pays its employees, from engineers to financial analysts

Self-driving cars

REVEALED: How much Waymo, Cruise, and Zoox employees make, from engineers to managers

Ride-hailing

Uber salaries revealed: From $85,000 to $330,000, here’s how much the ride-hailing giant pays some of its employees

Lyft salaries revealed: From $135,000 to $305,000, here’s how much Uber’s rival pays some of its employees

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber and Lyft could be avoiding $153 million in Canadian taxes every year by relying on contract workers, report says

Dara Khosrowshahi logan green
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft CEO Logan Green

  • Uber and Lyft could avoid a combined $153 million in taxes annually in Canada, a new report claims.
  • Canadians for Tax Fairness blamed lax disclosure laws and companies classifying drivers as contractors.
  • Uber and Lyft both disputed the findings, telling Insider they paid all required taxes in Canada.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber and Lyft could be avoiding a combined $153 million in taxes every year in Canada, according to a new report from the nonprofit Canadians for Tax Fairness (C4TF).

The report estimated Uber and Lyft avoid $53.9 million in corporate taxes as well as $81.3 million in unemployment insurance and benefits taxes by taking advantage of lax financial disclosure requirements around corporate taxes, in addition to classifying drivers as contractors.

While not illegal, the tactics let Uber and Lyft benefit from taxpayer-funded programs like roads, pensions, and unemployment insurance, despite paying very little into those programs, C4TF argued.

“Uber and Lyft both depend to a huge degree on publicly funded infrastructure to make their revenues, but they provide very little of the funding for that infrastructure because they pay next to nothing in taxes,” DT Cochrane, the report’s author and a policy researcher at C4TF, told Insider.

While the lack of transparency around corporate taxes makes it impossible to know exactly how much the companies paid, he added: “it’s doubtful that it approaches the level that we think that it should.”

Uber and Lyft told Insider they disputed the report’s findings, and said they have paid all taxes required by Canadian law.

“Uber contributes millions of dollars in the form of ridesharing fees, which help local and provincial governments pay for ridesharing, transit, and other initiatives,” an Uber Canada spokesperson told Insider.

“We file all of our taxes in Canada, including federal and provincial corporate income tax, payroll taxes, GST/HST, QST and applicable provincial sales tax,” a Lyft spokesperson told Insider, adding that the company “is in good standing with the Canadian tax authorities.”

But C4TF’s report cited several ways it says Uber and Lyft may have been able to significantly cut their tax bills.

First, C4TF estimated the companies brought in $203 million in combined profit in Canada in 2019, which should amount to $53.9 million in federal and provincial corporate taxes. Neither company discloses how much they pay in Canadian corporate taxes, but according to C4TF, using Uber’s global average effective tax rate of 1.9%, Uber and Lyft would have paid roughly $8.6 million.

Multinational corporations have come under increasing scrutiny for attempting to lower their global tax bills by routing profits through low-tax countries. An Australian research group accused Uber of using Dutch shell companies to turn $5.8 billion in global revenue into $4.8 billion in losses on paper, allegedly sidestepping millions of dollars in taxes.

Until recently, Uber’s Canada subsidiary was owned by its Dutch subsidiary, which C4TF claimed may have let it avoid Canadian taxes as well by booking Canadian revenue in the Netherlands where corporate taxes are lower (Uber claimed it had discussed plans to spin off its Canadian subsidiary as early as 2018).

In response, C4TF argued Canadian authorities should require more transparency from companies like Uber and Lyft to ensure they are paying their full tax bill.

C4TF’s report also estimated Uber and Lyft avoid $81.3 million in unemployment insurance and pension taxes by classifying drivers as contractors – a growing source of legal and political headaches for the companies in the US, the UK, Spain, and other countries. In a ruling last year, Canada’s Supreme Court opened the door for a class-action lawsuit that could chip away at the companies’ ability to classify drivers there as contractors.

Lyft’s spokesperson told Insider the Canadian government “recognizes drivers on Lyft as independent contractors and assigns taxes accordingly.”

One such tax includes Canada’s sales taxes. Because Canadian law requires individual contractors to collect and pay sales tax (except in Quebec, where the contracting company is responsible), C4TF argued Uber and Lyft drivers are unfairly shouldering those costs.

C4TF also claimed that because Uber and Lyft don’t withhold those sales taxes – an estimated $217 million per year – from drivers’ earnings upfront, they’re overstating how much drivers are really making.

Cochrane told Insider the report was also a critique of Canadian authorities that do not hold companies accountable for paying their fair share.

“We don’t know exactly what [Uber and Lyft’s] bookings are, what their revenue is, what their take rate is, what their profit margin might be, what their taxes paid are simply because the Canadian government is falling behind on requiring greater corporate transparency,” he said.

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China orders the removal of the Didi app from stores, accusing the ride-hailing company of illegally collecting personal data

FILE PHOTO: A Didi sign is seen on a car during the China Internet Conference in Beijing, China June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
Didi sign is seen on a car during the China Internet Conference in Beijing.

  • Chinese regulators’ suspension of the Didi app comes days after the company’s New York IPO.
  • China’s cyberspace agency accused the company of “serious violations” of in both collecting and using personal data.
  • The company has said it would comply with the ban and make required changes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

China on Sunday banned app stores from offering the Didi application, saying the ride-hailing company has been illegally collecting and using the personal data of users.

The move comes days after the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. China has increasingly clamped down on big tech over issues ranging from anti-competitive behavior to privacy and security. Last week, its cyberspace agency said it had launched an investigation into Didi to protect the safety of citizens and its national security.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said Sunday on its website that the investigation found the Didi app “has serious violations of laws and regulations” in both collecting and using personal information. App stores were notified to remove Didi and “strictly follow the legal requirements.” The statement did not say what kind of information was allegedly being unlawfully collected or used.

Didi said in a statement posted on Weibo that it would comply and make necessary changes. Registration of new users has been suspended and the app “will be removed from the shelves for rectification in strict accordance with the requirements of the relevant departments,” the statement said.

Users who have downloaded the Didi App can use it normally, and passengers’ travel and driver’s orders will not be affected, the statement said.

Didi is the second-largest ride-hailing app by market value in the world with a valuation of about $86 billion. Uber currently has a valuation of about $93 billion, while Lyft trades at a $20 billion valuation.

Shares of Didi soared as much as 28% in its IPO debut in New York on Wednesday. The company’s debut was the second-largest among Chinese companies after e-commerce giant Alibaba’s initial public offering in 2014.

Didi sports a number of high-profile investors, including Apple, which invested $1 billion in the ride-hailing company in 2016. Meanwhile, the SoftBank Vision Fund holds a 21.5% stake in Didi, while Uber and Tencent own a 12.8% and 6.8% stake in the company, respectively, according to Bloomberg.

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Uber and Lyft face up to 1,000 lawsuits claiming drivers sexually assaulted or harassed passengers, sometimes when the passengers were asleep

Uber sign
  • A California law firm plans to file up to 1,000 sexual assault lawsuits against Uber and Lyft, KPIX reported.
  • Lawyers from Levin Simes Abrams said some cases involve reports of drivers assaulting sleeping women.
  • The firm has called for mandatory surveillance cameras in cars to deter assaults.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber and Lyft could face nearly 1,000 individual lawsuits claiming that drivers sexually assaulted and harassed passengers, lawyers at firm Levin Simes Abrams told KPIX Wednesday.

The San Francisco-based law firm recently filed 85 lawsuits against Uber, mostly in San Francisco County Superior Court, with 321 cases pending, and filed more than 20 lawsuits against Lyft, with 517 cases pending, lawyers told KPIX.

About one third of those cases represented California residents, firm partners Rachel Abrams and Laurel Simes also told KRON in a separate interview on Wednesday.

Abrams and Simes told KRON that the 85 cases filed against Uber would not be joined together in a class-action lawsuit, because the details and severity of each case varied significantly.

The lawyers told KRON that hundreds of women came forward with claims of sexual assault and harassment after the firm took on its first case against Uber in 2019. In some cases, the women claimed drivers assaulted them when they were asleep or intoxicated, the lawyers said.

Firm attorney Meghan McCormick told KPIX in an interview that some drivers stand accused of ending rides early on the app “so it looks to anybody watching, or to Uber, as if they did exactly what they’re supposed to do.” They then drive the passenger “to a deserted place,” she said.

Abrams told KPIX that 99% of assaults “would be prevented if there was a camera.”

The ride-hailing apps announced in a joint statement in March that they would share data with each other on drivers who had been banned from their platforms for “the most serious safety incidents,” including sexual assaults and physical assaults that resulted in death.

In 2019, Uber released its first safety report, which said there had been 3,045 sexual assault reports on its US platform, out of 2.3 billion trips, between 2017 and 2018.

Uber said in a statement to KRON: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to support victims and help stop sexual violence by collaborating with experts, pioneering safety tech solutions, and setting the standard on transparency and accountability.”

Uber, Lyft, and Levin Simes Abrams did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Chinese ride-hailing company Didi became a retail favorite on its first day of trading

didi dirver
Reuters/Jason Lee

  • Didi has become a retail-investor favorite on its first day of trading, Fidelity data show.
  • The stock topped retail buys in Exela Technologies and AMC Entertainment.
  • Shares of the Chinese ride-hailing company surged as much as 28% during its IPO Wednesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi has already become a retail-trader favorite in its first day on the public markets, Bloomberg first reported.

According to data from Fidelity, Didi shares ranked number one among retail traders Wednesday, while Exela Technologies, which has seen heightened interest from Reddit investors this week, was second, and well-known meme-stock AMC Entertainment was third.

Didi had more than 32,000 buy orders as of 3:15 p.m. in New York, compared to Exela and AMC, which each had about a third of that, the data showed.

Didi’s debut is the second largest among Chinese companies, after e-commerce giant Alibaba’s initial public offering in 2014. The shares soared as much as 28% in their first day of trading, giving Didi an approximate $86 billion valuation, Markets Insider reported.

The valuation makes Didi the second largest ride-hailing app in the world after Uber, which is valued at $93 billion.

Rumors about a potential IPO spread for several years before the company eventually filed its prospectus earlier this month, Fortune reported. Among Didi’s largest shareholders are investment firm SoftBank, which has a 21.5% stake, Uber, which has a 12.8% stake, and Tencent, which has a 6.8% stake, Fortune said.

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I tried the new ride-hailing app in NYC designed to take driver power back from Uber and Lyft, and although it’s still working out some kinks, I was happy to help drivers get more money

The Drivers Cooperative app that reads "Thank you for supporting driver-owned rideshare for New York City"
The Drivers Cooperative

  • I tried the new driver-owned ride-hailing app available in New York City.
  • Unlike ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft, The Drivers Cooperative is owned and controlled by drivers.
  • Though I initially had trouble finding a driver, I was glad my money was helping drivers earn more.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
I tried The Drivers Cooperative, a new ride-share app available in New York City. Unlike Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies, drivers own and have control over The Drivers Cooperative.

Screenshot of the website for the new driver-owned ride-share app, The Drivers Cooperate, prompting users to either "drive with us" or "ride with us"
The Drivers Cooperative

The Drivers Cooperative launched in opposition to high commissions Uber and Lyft take from drivers, according to the app’s website. The company hopes to provide drivers with higher wages in the short-term and a “just, green transition of the industry” in the long-term.

Uber and Lyft drivers hold up sign that that reads "The Uber and Lyft Initiative Hurts Drivers" encouraging people to vote no on California Proposal 22
Rideshare drivers demonstrate against rideshare companies Uber and Lyft during a car caravan protest on August 6, 2020 in Los Angeles. – The drivers, organized by the Mobile Workers Alliance and Rideshare Drivers United unions, say Uber and Lyft’s are pushing a “deceptive” November ballot initiative, which, if passed, they claim would “rewrite labor law” and turn app-based drivers into independent contractors, exempting companies such as Lyft and Uber from standard wage and hour restrictions.

Source: The Drivers Cooperative

To sign up, I downloaded the app and plugged in personal information like my name and phone number. The process to sign up was easy and I was ready to start ordering cars within a few minutes.

The Drivers Cooperative sign up display
The Drivers Cooperative

I first tried to find a driver to pick me up in Queens.

The Drivers Cooperative app finding a driver in Queens, NYC.
The Drivers Cooperative

Before I ordered the car, The Drivers Cooperative had a breakdown of the fees and where exactly my money went. I noticed the price was slightly more expensive than what I’d pay for a similar trip on Uber and Lyft, but still pretty comparable.

The Drivers Cooperative fare details breaks down the price of a ride based on the base fare, tip, and black car fund.
The Drivers Cooperative

Unfortunately there weren’t enough cars in the area, so it took about 10 minutes to find a driver. And when the app had selected a driver, the car ended up going the wrong way and I had to cancel.

The Drivers Cooperative app car going the wrong way from where it should be
The Drivers Cooperative

But The Drivers Cooperative acknowledged that the company was just starting and there might be “bumps in the road” as it acquires more users. I decided to try again in Manhattan, where I figured there’d be more cars.

The Drivers Cooperative logo and pop up display on the app that reads: "We appreciate your understanding of any bumps in the road as we launch."
The Drivers Cooperative

Getting a car in Manhattan took about a minute or two. The driver arrived within five minutes.

The Drivers Cooperative app located driver Tarsem, the map shows his car driving.
The Drivers Cooperative

My driver, Tarsem Singh, said he was not part of the group of drivers who founded the app – but enjoys The Drivers Cooperative more than Uber and Lyft.

The Drivers Cooperative driver in NYC picks up passenger and starts driving to the destination.
Tarsem Singh, employee for The Drivers Cooperative

Singh said Uber and Lyft do not listen to drivers. When he drove for Uber, he said a teenage passenger complained about him going too slow. In reality, Singh said he went the speed limit and the passenger wanted him to go faster.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, UBER, speaks onstage during the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 24, 2019 in New York City.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber suspended his account after the passenger complained about him. Singh said he tried to appeal his suspension but failed.

The Drivers Cooperative driver passes Midtown, Manhattan on his route.
The Drivers Cooperative

Singh said he’s been happy with the passengers using The Drivers Cooperative. He said he urges New Yorkers to use this app because it “gives drivers much more money.”

Tarsem Singh, employee for The Drivers Cooperative, shares a photo of himself
Tarsem Singh, employee for The Drivers Cooperative

Despite some hurdles I faced in ordering a car, I’d encourage more people to use the app. The cost is similar enough to Uber and Lyft, and I feel better knowing my money is helping keep Singh and other drivers happily employed.

Driver from Drivers Cooperative ride-share app stands near his car in New York City
Tarsem Singh, a driver for The Drivers Cooperative, in New York City

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