Getting Over Uber
Susan Crawford

As a somewhat frequent user of Uber (as well as Lyft), I’ve enjoyed the convenience of a car ride that arrives as per request, at a lower fare. I understand the mass appeal in cities such as Los Angeles, with such a widespread treading ground and an inadequate transportation system. I do agree that public transportation mediums should be improved, especially those in the busiest urban areas. I believe that Ubers more concentrated in surburban(-ish) areas and a little less concentrated (and in combination with taxis) within the most urban areas is the ideal. In fact, Ubers are typically banned from picking up passengers at airports. This is one tactic that preserves the welfare of taxi drivers.

Yet, Uber drivers are incentivized to travel to the busiest areas. A redistribution of incentivizing (i.e. targeting specific neighbors, particularly less affluent/less easily accessible) would be helpful. The issue is that it begs the question: how will drivers be able to maximize on profit with this tactic? Perhaps research on the amount of requests and rides received within given neighborhoods will determine which ones are being deprived of service due to distance/inconvenience on the drivers’ part.

In this sharing economy, Uber is a response to more accessible rides and a supplemental source of income for drivers. Many drivers take Uber as a side job, which it is designed to be, with its flexibility and lack of benefits. Perhaps it will eventually expand to full-time contracting/benefits status. Otherwise, it should currently be seen as a supplemental alternative — for drivers and passengers alike.