“When the day comes to replace this car, the money won't be there.”

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.

A year ago, I was making enough money that it was going into savings, and there would be money going to car repairs, and money to replace the next car, which I fully intended to do. I drive this car for three years, and I wanna have a new car for the business, for the customer. And you know, I’m gonna look in my account after three years and get another car—that was totally the way I was thinking, and then that August rate reduction just pulled the floor out from under everything. It may not sound like much, but it really is. I mean, the first day I drove on that rate reduction, it was terrible. I did 18 rides, and the gross was $118. That’s really bad. Before that rate reduction, I really didn’t think much about the wear on my car, because, you know, it’s covered. Now, even when I have a pretty good day, I get a couple hundred bucks and I put about 180 miles on my car. And it takes the sheen off those days.

I am single; I am not raising any children; I have never had any debt in my life other than that car. So I can get by—that's it. A year ago, I did know that I was going to go to Maui in February... but by the end of August? No Maui. Which is heartbreaking. A part of being in middle-class America is vacations, and you can’t do that with these jobs. A year ago you could.

—Don, Seattle Uber & Lyft driver