Uber has been selling itself as a saviour of the middle class. Numerous studies from the ride-hailing company and its policy leaders have highlighted the same message: People love having flexible schedules and can make money doing it.
On-stage at the O’Reilly Next:Economy summit, Uber’s policy head, David Plouffe, reiterated how great it is for the ride-hailing company’s driver partners.
“Tw0-thirds of our driver partners vary their schedule 25 per cent week-to-week,” Plouffe said.
But, during the question and answer session, an Uber driver, Eric Barajas, painted a very different picture of what it is like to be a driver for the startup.
“I just want to know how it is that you guys are helping the economy when there are full time drivers like me and over 100 in San Francisco that are struggling to make ends meet, barely making part time, I mean minimum wage,” Barajas said. “I found the job on Craigslist saying I could make $US35 an hour. After all the expenses, I’m really struggling. I don’t know if I should pay my PG&E bill or my water bill.”
Plouffe offered to have Barajas sit down with the San Francisco team to talk about his situation, but reiterated that many people join the ride-hailing company because it does work for them.
“Again, every situation is different and we wish your situation could be more positive,” Plouffe said.
However, Barajas was worried the proposed meeting with Uber would mean one thing: being deactivated. His friends have been deactivated for speaking out, he said, and he didn’t want that to be the case for him after he addressed Plouffe in front of a crowd and met with the team.
“There’s no threat of deactivation? Because I have a feeling since I put myself out there I could be deactivated like other people I’ve known who have been deactivated for speaking up,” Barajas said.
Plouffe, though, tried to assure him that the rating system that Uber’s drivers and passengers use is for the rides, not for speaking up.
Uber declined to comment beyond Plouffe’s remarks.
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