“It is just such a shame”: Pay cuts and car payments

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. What it comes down to is in August of last year, they cut our pay, they dropped the rates 20%. The lowest fare is four dollars now, which is not worth it. I mean, the company takes a dollar for the safety fee, and they get 20%, and you get something like two dollars and forty cents, minus gas, minus depreciation.

What’s unfortunate is it had a chance to be a really good job. Last May, I had a car with a manual transmission that was paid for. I took the car in to have the clutch replaced at the dealership. I talked to them and decided to go back and get another car with an automatic transmission—it’s Seattle. I confidently made a business decision, with the kind of money we were making. With total confidence, I upgraded and went back into debt. And now I’m in debt on the car, but I had no reservations about making that decision. Many, many people a year and a half ago were doing the same thing. Getting a new car for business, or upgrading. My story is common. A friend of mine just bought a brand-new Prius, just over a year ago, and he has high payments. Now he's trying to do that with 20% less income, you know? He went from working 40 hours a week to working 60 hours a week.

In this time in which American workers aren’t doing well—despite America's shareholders, in my opinion, American workers aren’t recovering from 2008—these companies could have done such a great thing supporting American society by providing thousands and thousands of good jobsI mean, last year you could make $50,000 to $60,000 driving for Uber, depending on if you focused on peak hours, focused on Friday and Saturday nights—you could definitely do it working 40 to 50 hours a week. You know, that is okay. I don’t know if that is middle class anymore, but it’s good.

It is just such a shame that they decided to simply not do it.

—Don, Seattle Uber & Lyft Driver