My name is Takele, and I’ve been driving for Uber and Sidecar for one year and a half.
I started this job quitting my job from the airport where I made $9.47 an hour, and then Uber came out with advertising saying that you could make $35 to $45 an hour. So believing that, I quit that job.
I'm supporting my daughter. I have my dad and my mom, and they live in Africa, I also support them, in South Sudan. Because of the war in South Sudan, they are now living in Sudan. They are old people—my dad is blind, he cannot see, and my mom is there. They are old people. They don't have any support. They don't have any alternatives.
I had an accident, somebody backed up and hit my car, and when I called Uber, it was an argument. They told me, “Go and call your personal insurance.” I said, “Personal insurance has nothing to do with this, because I had just dropped somebody off and had received another call I was going to.”Uber said, "Oh, your personal insurance will do it." I said "No, it's not on my insurance, I was working." It became an argument.
I was a cab driver. I used to drive my for-hire vehicle, and I picked up one of the Uber employees, and we sat in the car. He said it was good. He kept calling me, we started texting one another. I talked to the drivers who drive for Uber and they said, “Yeah, we're doing good.” I knew a guy who had King County & City of Seattle for-hire licenses—he went and turned in his licenses and went to work for Uber. I went in and they told me, “If you want to work for us, you can no longer be a for-hire driver. If you want to join, change the color of your car and come join.” I said okay. I went and turned my for-hire license back in, I painted my car, and I went to work for Uber.
I’m single, I don’t have any other debts, I do alright. But if I have a bad day or a couple bad days, I don’t do okay. And when the day comes to replace this car, the money won't be there.That’s something we kinda push to the back of our minds because I think a lot of drivers have cars that we just got recently, they’re still under warranty, so we just kinda don’t think about that reality: that two or three years from now, repairs are gonna start happening, we’ll be wanting to replace them, and we won’t be able to do it. There won’t be money for a down payment.
Right now, we don't have rights. We're not employees. They have all the rights. They have the license, they send me the customers, they can decide to suspend me at any time. My license belongs to Uber. I get that license from Uber, not the city. They will take it back. It's not yours.
When I open the app and sign in, they'll send something to the phone—if you agree, click yes, if not, click no. If you say no, it closes, it's not going to activate, and you can't work anymore. You have to click yes to everything. Sometimes you don't really know what it says. But everything on there, you say yes. If you say no, you can't work. It logs you out. So whatever they put on there, just click yes—Yes, sir!No matter what.
Having a rating hanging over your head is like driving handcuffed. Us drivers, if we fall below a 4.6 rating we can be deactivated and removed from the system. So basically you lose your job, and you can't drive anymore. Some of these guys through Uber have purchased their own vehicles through special financing. Now, if they purchased a vehicle and they've driven for 2 years, and that vehicle starts to get some milage on it and it's depreciating, who's to say Uber won't be able to remove their ability to have more customers?
I had a passenger who assaulted me. I reported it to Lyft, and they told me, "Oh, don't worry, we took care of it." They said they took him off the system. But sure enough, a month later, I was in Queen Anne, and he activated a Lyft ride. And guess who shows up. He didn't remember me, because he had been drunk and had a friend with him. But I remembered him. I though Lyft said they got rid of him. But it's so easy to get back on the system. There's no security for drivers. I've gotten assaulted, I've gotten vomited on. —Miguelito, Seattle Uber & Lyft driver
I started driving after a friend of mine brought up Lyft, and I read this article. It sounded worth checking out, and it was great—I mean, until recently, it was great. It paid well. I mean, I look back a year and a half ago, if you look back on the drivers’ Facebook pages, it was all filled with like, "favorite ride of the day," and all this stuff that we love about this job, and now when you read it, it’s all fairly rancorous. You know—it’s not happy.
I want to go back to school and do something different. I'm an activist, a human rights activist. I want to go to law school. That's what I'm intending to do.
In my home country, my home village was burned by the government because one of the commanders rebelled against the government in our city. I have an uncle, he was burned inside his house. People got killed. The whole area got burned down. People were scared. What were we to do? So we created a human rights organization. And they elected me a leader.