Like Amazon, it did and is still doing whatever is necessary to grab market share.
Last year, Uber had a $4.5 billion loss. And, this year, as Jessica Bruder chronicles in New York Magazine, black car driver Doug Schifter committed suicide. Four other taxi drivers have also taken their own lives.
Schifter had been driving black cars and, before that, a taxi for 44 years. He had gone from making a middle-class living to facing bankruptcy.
In his communications, including his suicide note, Schifter positioned his decision to end it all as his protest against what he believed was unfair competition by app-based services such as Uber. It was hurting both the black car niche and the overall taxi business in New York City.
Previously he had launched the New York Black Drivers Association to mobilize grassroots support for addressing the alleged unfair competition.
There were few takers. That was not unexpected.
Likely, as happens in near-desperate situations, there is extreme fear about becoming visible and rocking the boat.
Yes, some still were making it. They were able to eke out a living by being on call for more hours in the week and bringing home less money. In addition, those who invested in purchasing a medallion have endured a significant loss of value. That has blown up what they had considered their retirement nest egg. Schifter had sold his medallion years ago when that still yielded a profit.
However, Bruder also points out, Uber drivers are not in the catbird seat. Some claim to bring home less than $10 an hour.
Of course, this New York Magazine article is focusing attention on the financial plight of both those in the traditional black car and taxi industries and the drivers for app-based services. The suffering is palpable for all of them. Is this the new economy in one of the wealthiest communities in the world?
Contact Jane Genova email@example.com.