This is not a business plan

See updates through May 26, 2022, at end of post.


The story, pretty consistently since April, has been that there aren’t enough Uber and Lyft drivers on the road,[1] resulting in sky-high fare increases that aren’t very much being passed on to drivers.[2] And so Uber and Lyft continue to have difficulty getting drivers back on the road[3] even as they foresaw a problem clear back in March.[4] A project led by Dr. Julia Ticona, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication has been exploring why and basically what emerges is that drivers are fed up[5] with the disingenuous games that Uber and Lyft have been playing with drivers, largely on pay,[6] certainly as long as I’ve been driving for these companies.

Something that I think shows up in a number of ways is that the rich capitalists who run these companies fail to fully take in that their drivers are poor, not middle class. They have an imagination, for example, that we’re all going to run out and buy electric vehicles,[7] an imagination that is manifestly failing to conform with reality[8] in large part because nobody who’s middle class would even consider driving for these companies, but also really, even if nobody is paying attention, due to a persistent and impossible-to-ignore impracticality of operating these vehicles, especially for folks who live in apartment complexes that lack charging facilities.[9] Middle class folks may own their homes and might have a place to plug in their cars; the poor mostly will not.

But the companies act as if pay doesn’t really matter, as they keep cutting it, despite the toll this job takes on physical and mental health and despite the not-at-all insignificant costs of operating a vehicle under these conditions[10] and despite the fact that a human being needs to actually earn a living.[11]

For all of it, there’s still no apparent path to profitability for these companies. They thought they were going to get there with self-driving cars,[12] but it’s increasingly clear that that technology is a long ways off[13] and the companies have sold off their autonomous vehicle development units.[14] Yet they cling desperately, expensively, and sleazily to the “independent contractor” scam, otherwise known as worker misclassification,[15] despite its evident failure to attract and retain drivers who have any other options at all.[16]

Way back in the late 1970s, when I was a Business Data Processing major at American River College in Sacramento (this is my Associate in Arts degree), I learned about something called a “business plan.” This is where an aspiring business person had to realistically look at the market demand for a product or service and what it would take to provide that product or service, and then to actually devise a serious plan for doing it, profitably.

This, of course, had been entirely forgotten by the time of the dot-com boom, where hype took the place of planning, hence the dot-com crash in 2001, a crash from which I have never recovered despite returning to school and finishing all the way up through a Ph.D. Uber and Lyft are plainly products of that dot-com mentality and their drivers have paid an extreme price:

[D]rivers said the coronavirus pandemic provided the first glimpse in years at what a life after Uber could look like. For many of them, it was a meaningful reset that gave them a better understanding of the toll the gigs had taken on their bodies, their mental health and their vehicles. It was the push they needed to finally begin their lives after Uber.

Some of the drivers said they realized the ride-hailing gigs were not the same jobs they signed up for in the early days of the apps. In the early days, they were incentivized with promotions and what they regarded as sustainable wages, taking more than $1,000 in pay from a full workweek. But as the apps took off, pay models changed and earnings slowly dwindled as drivers saw their weekly pay fall into the hundreds.[17]

It took a long time for these companies to relinquish[18] their delusion that self-driving cars would solve their problems anytime in the foreseeable future.[19] And it’s really only been this year that they’ve faced pushback at the federal level for their treatment of drivers,[20] an exploitation that they had to spend exorbitantly to defend sleazily in California[21] and that’s now failing to deliver.[22]

Uber and Lyft executives cling to a capitalist libertarian and neoliberal ideology that insists that people should be grateful (the “work ethic”) to work for nothing.[23] But delusion is not actually a business plan.


Update, July 8, 2021: Whizy Kim is only the latest[24] to raise doubts about Uber’s (and, really, Lyft’s) path to profitability.[25] As Kim notes, however, the business model depends on treating drivers like shit.[26] What’s apparent is that even that isn’t enough.[27]


Update, August 24, 2021: Something Laura Forman does, without being explicit about it, is suggest that the writing is on the wall for the “independent contractor” scam, otherwise known as worker misclassification. She writes a lot about California’s Proposition 22 and how investors react[28] to a recent court decision striking it down,[29] but also points out a number of places where attempts are being made to force or have already been successful in forcing gig economy companies to classify their workers as employees.[30] Intelligent corporate executives would recognize that this scam isn’t flying, but it’s clear these companies don’t actually have a business plan,[31] and at least two smart writers have labeled Uber a ‘bezzle,’[32] “John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized,”[33] as serious analysts continue to doubt Uber’s potential for profit.[34] And whatever can be said about Uber generally also applies to Lyft; it’s just that the bigger company gets more attention.

So assuming these companies’ executives aren’t idiots—yes, I know, a dubious assumption—one then has to assume that they are fully aware of what they are doing and are simply trying to stretch out their highly-paid jobs as long as they can. ’Cause you know their names will all be mud when this comes crashing down.


Update, September 17, 2021: Either yesterday or the day before, a passenger, who claims to investigate money laundering for a living, explained that Uber is a legal money laundering operation for Softbank, which is a major investor in the firm.[35] The mechanics of finance get pretty rapidly mysterious to me but my expectation is that this is consistent with the description of Uber as a ‘bezzle.’[36]


Update, September 22, 2021: Uber reports and flaunts adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). The list of exclusions is considerably longer:

We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss), excluding (i) income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of income taxes, (ii) net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests, net of tax, (iii) provision for (benefit from) income taxes, (iv) income (loss) from equity method investments, (v) interest expense, (vi) other income (expense), net, (vii) depreciation and amortization, (viii) stock-based compensation expense, (ix) certain legal, tax, and regulatory reserve changes and settlements, (x) goodwill and asset impairments/loss on sale of assets, (xi) acquisition and financing related expenses, (xii) restructuring and related charges and (xiii) other items not indicative of our ongoing operating performance, including COVID-19 response initiative related payments for financial assistance to Drivers personally impacted by COVID-19, the cost of personal protective equipment distributed to Drivers, Driver reimbursement for their cost of purchasing personal protective equipment, the costs related to free rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors, and others in need as well as charitable donations.[37]

Hubert Horan, in Naked Capitalism, wrote in 2020:

For many years this series has argued that the market is fundamentally unwilling to pay prices that would cover Uber’s actual costs, that after ten years it has demonstrated that it cannot “grow into profitability” and that there is no evidence that Uber’s business model is capable of achieving the massive, multi-billion dollar improvements that would be required to achieve sustainable profitability anytime soon. There is no data in Uber’s 2019 Annual Report that would cast any doubt on these arguments.[38]

That the numbers fundamentally fail to come out in any humane way has always been the story. It was even the story with the taxi industry long before Uber and Lyft, even when I was a taxi driver in San Francisco in the dot-com era (I got sucked into Linuxcare as a technical writer about a year before it, both the era and the company, went bust) where restaurants were desperate for (and successfully lobbied for) more cabs to cover peak times, which meant drivers on ten-hour shifts suffered on non-peak times, but still, as so-called “independent contractors” (you didn’t really think Uber invented the worker misclassification scam, did you?) had to pay to work, whether they worked their entire shifts or not, whether they made any money or not.

At that time, I thought no reputable business person would touch the taxi business with a ten-foot pole. That was before I learned how capitalism works, that capitalism fundamentally relies on labor exploitation and depends on human misery and human desperation to enforce that exploitation.[39] It’s a little less often that capitalism targets investors as well, but Horan explains the adjusted EBITDA bullshit:

Since its GAAP profitability results are so awful, Uber’s financial releases and Dara Khosrowshahi’s public statements have come to almost exclusively emphasize EBITDA measures. The problem is that none of these honestly measure EBITDA, and Uber aggressively misrepresents EBITDA as “profit.”

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) is a non-GAAP intermediate contribution measure that has no obvious relevance to Uber, and even if accurately calculated should be ignored by investors. EBITDA is sometimes used by companies with very large fixed assets, large intangible assets (such as goodwill acquired after a major merger) or significant debt financing to give outsiders a crude sense of a company’s ability to meet its outstanding financial obligations. Uber has none of these characteristics.

More importantly, Uber’s reported “EBITDA” numbers exclude billions of expenses other than interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Its primary EBITDA measure excludes the $5 billion in stock-based employee compensation. Its “Segment Adjusted EBITDA” measure also excludes all of the IT expense supporting the Uber platform, and the corporate expenses (accounting, lobbying, etc.) directly supporting all of its current operations.[40]

In short, this is a scam, and Horan stops just short of calling it one, observing how the EBITDA narrative is used to entice investors who don’t read or understand footnotes.[41] Yet it is only by the dint of those footnotes, that Uber avoids the accusation of deception.

Who wins? “[E]xecutives and investors who cash out during its many stock fluctuations.”[42]


Update, November 21, 2021: William Cohan of Puck News explains in a subscriber-only newsletter

that few people on Wall Street ever take a critical view of a high-flying company, even when warning signs are strewn across the financial landscape. Wall Street thinks in terms of “wallets”—as in, how much in fees can be made from underwriting the debt or equity of a company, or how much money can be made raising venture capital for a company, or how much money can be made advising a company on its sale or on an acquisition or merger. “Oh, this Theranos is a total mess, I’m not going to get near it with a ten-foot pole,” said no one on Wall Street ever. The banker who says something like that gets fired because at the end of the year, he or she has no revenue on his or her ledger, which means there is no way to justify paying him or her a bonus, which means there is no reason to keep him or her around.

Ultimately, Wall Street is a very Darwinian business. Those that survive the longest generate boatloads of fees year in and year out. And the only way that happens is doing deals that close—a debt offering, an I.P.O. underwriting, or advising on an M&A deal. No one gets paid for not doing deals, or for questioning a company’s ethics or business plan.[43]

Cohan was answering a subscriber’s question about Theranos.[44] But the explanation surely applies as well to Uber and Lyft’s bezzles.


Update, November 28, 2021: There are a few games that Uber and Lyft play to disguise how much of any fare they’re keeping in fees from drivers. One of them is by simply not telling us what the total fare is.

Another is through various “promotions,” which are essentially bonus schemes tied to providing a certain number of rides, sometimes in particular areas, sometimes during “surges” in demand, sometimes over a period of hours, sometimes over a period of days. With Uber, one of the latter is regularly scheduled to cover periods from Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday. And for each such “quest,” I see two tiers: the one I select and one that’s ten or twenty rides more. What this means is if I do that latter number of rides more than I select, I actually collect the bonus for the next higher “quest.” It’s all generally less than $100, but it’s a significant bump to my gross revenue, so I watch how many rides I’m doing and adjust accordingly.

With Uber, I am prompted to select a “quest” on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the Friday through Sunday and Monday through Thursday periods respectively. This didn’t happen last Wednesday, prompting me to wonder if Uber had ended the scheme, perhaps, I thought, because the bezzle[45] was coming to an end. This was before news of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 broke Friday,[46] but it was on Friday that I knew clearly that I hadn’t simply failed to find the weekend “quest” and that there really wasn’t one.

On Saturday, however, I got prompted again as usual. So I don’t know why it hadn’t happened the preceding Wednesday. But the pandemic crimped both Uber and Lyft’s profits as both riders and drivers fled their platforms and longstanding doubts about their business model and potential for profitability persisted.[47] With the new variant,[48] those doubts will be renewed.

As I noted earlier,[49] the term ‘bezzle’ is “John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized;”[50] the Uber and Lyft bezzles appear to target the stock market,[51] which took a dive on news of Omicron.[52] It’s a holiday weekend, so at this writing, we don’t know what will happen on Monday.

What I do know, without doubt, is that Uber and Lyft are not forever on this earth.[53] Sooner or later, investors will get wise to the bezzles. And that will be the end for these companies. The question for me, right now, is whether Omicron will precipitate that end.


Update, January 8, 2022: Understand that Uber and Lyft are not companies any conceivable path to profitability. They exist as stock market swindles. They have spent exorbitantly to fight off efforts to treat drivers as employees, in part claiming that to do otherwise would put them out of business when in fact they don’t have viable business plans in the first place.[54]

So here’s Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi doing what?

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reassured investors concerned about new European Union regulations in December, telling a group of bankers that his company can continue to thrive even under rules that would force it to hire drivers as employees.

“We can make any model work,” Khosrowshahi said when asked about potential EU legislation that would require Uber to designate drivers as employees or provide additional rights such as vacation time and a pension.[55]

The bullshit is getting deep. Very, very deep.


Update, February 5, 2022: The headline, “Facebook’s faceplant on Wall Street could be just the beginning for some tech stocks,” was bad enough, but it’s the subtitle on a Washington Post article that really got my attention. It said, “End of free money has investors rethinking what’s safe — and what isn’t.”[56] As I understand it, Uber and Lyft are considered technology companies. I understood Facebook to at least be profitable; the same cannot be said for Uber and Lyft.[57]

The “end of free money” bit refers to an apparent Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates from rock bottom; Facebook, now named “Meta,” is facing a number of problems[58] that I really don’t care about. The article does not mention either Uber or Lyft, but if investors start looking more carefully at their heretofore reckless gambles, this cannot be good news for the rideshare companies.[59]


Update, March 8, 2022: That these companies remain so desperate to protect their exploitative business model[60] certainly belies Uber’s claim to be able to make a profit regardless of labor model.[61] Of course, the reality remains that they can’t make a profit regardless of labor model, which means these companies will die just about as soon as investors finally figure out what a whole bunch of other people have already figured out and, in fact, have known for years.[62]


Update, May 10, 2022: Remembering, as I do, all too well, the dot-com crash, that “‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment” that Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi refers to[63] reminds me of when, seemingly all at once, venture capitalists folded up their checkbooks. More fundamentally, Uber’s CEO is admitting that he continues to rely on investors for operating funds, which is to admit that his company continues to lose money.

When the dot-com boom bust, it took out a lot of companies, some with actual business plans, many without, some good companies, like the one where I had the only good job of my entire life, and a lot of not so good companies. Uber is known to be hemorrhaging vast quantities of money with no real plan for ever being profitable.[64] While it’s unclear whether what Khosrowshahi calls a “seismic shift” is temporary or longer-lasting,[65] what gets my attention is his outsized reaction to it,[66] which has to suggest a vulnerability.


Update, May 13, 2022: When the dot-com era was going bust, I had a sense that I knew what was going on, at least at the company, Linuxcare, I worked for.

Linuxcare, a technology service company focusing on what is now called “free software,” had made a point of being Linux distribution-neutral: It didn’t matter if you were working with Red Hat, Suse, or something else. We were aiming to serve.

But all of a sudden, a merger was announced with Turbolinux, a poor quality distribution from Asia. The rationale for this merger was opaque, to say the least. It obviously compromised our distribution-neutrality and no one seemed to have even the beginning of an idea what Turbolinux would add to Linuxcare, except, perhaps—I’m not sure that anyone was clear on this either—cash, which Linuxcare had been burning. It was a merger that didn’t make any sense.

And it fell through. Then the layoffs began.

Linuxcare wasn’t laying off people like me who were marginally talented in the Linux space. Instead, Linuxcare was laying off its most talented (read, expensive) people. This really didn’t make any sense and so I jumped ship, unfortunately to another venture capital-funded startup that soon after laid off its entire information technology department, including me. That was in 2001. Though I returned to school and finished a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, and a Ph.D., I haven’t recovered since.[67] (Linuxcare had another layoff shortly after I changed jobs that might well have included me; the company has been defunct for most of the time since.)

So I’m watching Uber and Lyft go through their gyrations. I don’t have near the quality of job I had then:[68] I’m signed up to drive for both but actually drive almost exclusively for Uber these days. I don’t have near the sense of knowing what’s going on that I had with Linuxcare.

And I’m every bit as vulnerable now as I was then, if not more so.

When asked what he would say to someone about to lose their job or wasn’t seeing their pay increase, [Jerome] Powell said: “I would say that we fully understand and appreciate how painful inflation is, and that we have the tools and the resolve to get it down to 2%, and that we’re going to do that.[69]

It isn’t Jerome Powell who’s worried about losing his job.

In fact, if the Fed does all it is pledging to do, with higher rates and a shrinking balance sheet, the de facto tightening will come to around 400 basis points. This compares to 180 basis points in 2018 and 315 basis points for the entire 2015-2018 cycle—85 basis points more this time and all lumped into one year! This compares to 175 basis points of rate hikes in 1999-2000 (ahead of that recession), 300 basis points in 1994, and 313 basis points in 1988-89 (ahead of that recession). You have to go back to the early 1980s to see the last time the Fed got so aggressive in such a short timeframe.[70]

I am starting to see that that “‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment” that Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi refers to[71] might indeed be serious and that his reaction to it might not be so outsized at all.

Linuxcare’s business plan had never made much sense to me. Looking back, I think the idea was mostly to amass such a collection of talent and resources that it had to be useful somehow. And I don’t think anyone can question that it did indeed amass such a collection.

I would take Linuxcare’s business plan over Uber’s in a heartbeat. Uber doesn’t even have what I would call a business plan.[72]

Uber’s operations burned $445 million in 2021, but new term loans raised enough money to increase its end of year cash position by $400 million, to $7.8 billion. . . . Lyft’s operations remain cash negative, burning $100 million in 2021.[73]

Hubert Horan doesn’t say here how much cash Lyft has on hand.[74] One question will be how deeply these companies will be willing to dip into their cash reserves to keep afloat over what time period.

Another question will be of the impact a very deep recession, such as, if I understand David Rosenberg correctly,[75] we may very well be about to have, will have on my earnings.


May 22, 2022: I file these stories about a downturn for technology start-up company stocks[76] with those and Uber and profitability because this is how Uber categorizes itself and because neither Uber nor Lyft have any apparent path to profitability. These companies are being forced to dip into their cash reserves and my question about how long they’ll be willing to do that remains.[77]

“This is clearly not a speed bump,” said Mike Volpi, a venture capitalist with Index Ventures. “This is a proper correction. The end of a cycle.”

In March, startup CEO Doug Ludlow cautioned his fellow founders on Twitter: “If you haven’t already started on a path to break-even, start immediately. In 2022, VC’s are going to pull back massively.”[78]

Heather Somerville only mentions Uber in passing,[79] but the company’s chief executive officer has reacted to the change in the investing climate,[80] and Lyft’s share prices have tumbled already.[81]

I wish I didn’t care and I don’t, really, when if comes to most of the affected companies. But if Uber and Lyft shut down, I’m going to be wondering how I’ll get by.


Update, May 26, 2022:

VC high priests often argue that these downturns are macroeconomic acts of God, like some 100-year storm, or, OK, fine, maybe a 15-year storm—anyway, no need for anyone to moderate their selfishness or learn other pesky lessons. In this case, the argument goes, two decades of low interest rates cast tech companies as alluring investments, sending a flood of capital from public markets their way. Competition to back the most promising startups then drove valuations to unsustainable heights, until an unprecedented confluence of bad news (Covid-19, Ukraine, inflation) brought it all crashing down. It’s comforting to blame the world. But the truer explanation, one that necessitates a real reckoning, is that the industry, once again, is facing up to the compounding impact of its bad decisions.

It started with the two things that motivate all venture capitalists: 1) a paralyzing fear of missing the next big thing, and 2) greed. A decade ago, new companies began making their way out of startup schools such as Y Combinator asking to be valued in the millions of dollars before they’d ever earned a cent. To attract the most promising startups, certain VC firms, notably Andreessen Horowitz, eagerly endorsed this high-stakes grade inflation and often allowed founders to cash out before they’d proved their business models. High-profile collapses, such as the blood-testing disaster Theranos and the office-sharing supernova WeWork, led to some bingeworthy TV but didn’t prompt a serious retreat from this Monopoly-money mindset. Instead, VC firms and their new rivals, such as SoftBank Group Corp. and Tiger Global Management LLC, continued jockeying to invest and bid up prices every step of the way. “There was so much money available at every stage and everywhere you looked,” says Jeff Clavier, managing partner of early-stage investment firm Uncork Capital.[82]

On the one hand, as I’ve previously mentioned,[83] I feel somewhat disconnected from a possibly popping bubble. I’m not where I was for the dot-com bust in 2000-2001. So it’s hard for me to sense what I did then, that yes, what Brad Stone and Lizette Chapman describe is real. On the other hand, white the names and specific modalities are different, what they describe most definitely sounds familiar, but if I’m reading them correctly, on a far more massive scale.[84] And if Laura Forman is right, it makes Uber[85] and, now, Lyft[86] look relatively responsible—the two companies are both reacting to what Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi called “the ‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment.”[87] Whether that’s enough very much remains to be seen.

What I can say is that the pattern of business I’m seeing personally as a driver, on that other hand, profoundly vulnerable to the business cycle seems strikingly to have shifted in recent days. I can’t really say my bottom line is affected yet but I’m seeing fewer rides and a lot of time between them, particularly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, always the worst two days of the week, at a time of year when business should be on the upswing following dreadful winter doldrums.

I don’t know what, if anything, this portends. It could be that somehow I ride this out like I did the pandemic. It could be I don’t. It could be that what I’ve seen over the flast few days is a meaningless flash in the pan. Or it could just further signify a return the bad old days pre-pandemic. I don’t know, I’m a single case, and as always, there are confounding variables I’m not accounting for, like that I’ve really become intolerant of passenger nonsense, in which I intend to limit who is getting in my car.[88]

  1. [1]Jessica Bursztynsky, “Uber CEO is ‘not happy’ with how long it’s taking to pick riders up or prices being charged,” CNBC, May 25, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/25/uber-ceo-is-not-happy-with-driver-supply-pricing.html; Laura Forman, “Uber and Lyft Need a Sharper Turn,” Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-and-lyft-need-a-sharper-turn-11618311794; Michael Hiltzik, “Uber reneges on the ‘flexibility’ it gave drivers to win their support for Prop. 22,” Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-05-28/uber-flexibility-prop-22; Mariella Moon, “Uber and Lyft rides are pricier due to a lack of drivers (and the waits are longer, too),” Engadget, June 1, 2021, https://www.engadget.com/uber-lyft-surge-pricing-lack-of-drivers-035835230.html; Faiz Siddiqui, “Where have all the Uber drivers gone?” Washington Post, May 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/05/07/uber-lyft-drivers/; Alissa Walker, “Why Your Uber Ride Is Suddenly Costing a Fortune,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://www.curbed.com/2021/06/uber-lyft-expensive-new-york-city.html
  2. [2]Faiz Siddiqui, “You may be paying more for Uber, but drivers aren’t getting their cut of the fare hike,” Washington Post, June 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/06/09/uber-lyft-drivers-price-hike/
  3. [3]Jessica Bursztynsky, “Uber CEO is ‘not happy’ with how long it’s taking to pick riders up or prices being charged,” CNBC, May 25, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/25/uber-ceo-is-not-happy-with-driver-supply-pricing.html; Laura Forman, “Uber and Lyft Need a Sharper Turn,” Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-and-lyft-need-a-sharper-turn-11618311794; Michael Hiltzik, “Uber reneges on the ‘flexibility’ it gave drivers to win their support for Prop. 22,” Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-05-28/uber-flexibility-prop-22; Mariella Moon, “Uber and Lyft rides are pricier due to a lack of drivers (and the waits are longer, too),” Engadget, June 1, 2021, https://www.engadget.com/uber-lyft-surge-pricing-lack-of-drivers-035835230.html; Faiz Siddiqui, “Where have all the Uber drivers gone?” Washington Post, May 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/05/07/uber-lyft-drivers/; Alissa Walker, “Why Your Uber Ride Is Suddenly Costing a Fortune,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://www.curbed.com/2021/06/uber-lyft-expensive-new-york-city.html
  4. [4]Aarian Marshall, “Gig Companies Fear a Worker Shortage, Despite a Recession,” Wired, March 5, 2021, https://www.wired.com/story/gig-companies-fear-worker-shortage-despite-recession/
  5. [5]Rida Qadri and Alexandra Mateescu, “Uber and Lyft: woo drivers with stable pay, not short-term honeypots,” Guardian, June 20, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/20/gig-economy-companies-uber-lyft-drivers-pandemic
  6. [6]Farhad Manjoo, “The Uber I.P.O. Is a Moral Stain on Silicon Valley,” New York Times, May 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/opinion/uber-ipo.html; Dhruv Mehrotra and Aaron Gordon, “Uber And Lyft Take A Lot More From Drivers Than They Say,” Jalopnik, August 26, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-take-a-lot-more-from-drivers-than-they-sa-1837450373; Alexa Noel, “Revised MIT Study Says Uber, Lyft Drivers Make About $8 or $10 per Hour,” Points Guy, March 8, 2018, https://thepointsguy.com/2018/03/revised-mit-study-says-uber-lyft-drivers-make-about-8-or-10-per-hour/; Kari Paul, “Uber drivers plan shutdown over ‘poverty wages’ as company goes public,” Guardian, April 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/24/uber-drivers-strike-ipo; José Rodríguez, Jr., “The Aftermath Of Prop 22 Is Not As Happy As Big Tech Promised,” Jalopnik, February 18, 2021, https://jalopnik.com/the-aftermath-of-prop-22-is-not-as-happy-as-big-tech-pr-1846299686; Alexander Sammon, “Prop 22 Is Here, and It’s Already Worse Than Expected,” American Prospect, January 15, 2021, https://prospect.org/labor/prop-22-is-here-already-worse-than-expected-california-gig-workers/; Faiz Siddiqui, “Where have all the Uber drivers gone?” Washington Post, May 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/05/07/uber-lyft-drivers/
  7. [7]Ben Elgin and Lizette Chapman, “How Uber and Lyft Are Losing the Race to the Electric Future,” Bloomberg, May 10, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-05-10/inside-the-slow-ev-adoption-by-uber-and-lyft; Andrew J. Hawkins, “Lyft vows ‘100 percent’ of its vehicles will be electric by 2030,” Verge, June 17, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/17/21294040/lyft-electric-vehicle-ev-100-percent-2030; Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber pledges to shift to ‘100 percent’ electric vehicles by 2030,” Verge, September 8, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/8/21427196/uber-promise-100-percent-electric-vehicle-ev-2030
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  88. [88]I have a dangerous job; ordering an Uber or Lyft ride is not, I repeat, not rocket science; and the companies can only partially mitigate the risk to myself and my car, which I’d like to keep nice: David Benfell, “Gaslighting Uber drivers on safety,” Not Housebroken, April 28, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/04/28/gaslighting-uber-drivers-on-safety/ Any deviation from the norm is, to me, necessarily, a red flag. If you can’t get your order right, including getting your pickup location right, I’m wondering if I trust you to be in my car and will just as soon cancel the ride. If you in any way misbehave, including according to rules I have posted, I’ll give you a one-star rating in the hope I’ll never be matched with you again: David Benfell, “The vulnerability of Uber and Lyft driving,” Not Housebroken, February 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/02/18/the-vulnerability-of-uber-and-lyft-driving/

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