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Uber drivers making $8 per hour, not $35, California deputant tells Economic Development Committee

Following is the transcript of Nicole Moore’s September 21st deputation to Toronto’s Economic Development Committee. Taxi News will share transcripts of additional deputations in the days ahead.

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Thank you. My name is Nicole Moore. I’m a member of Rideshare Drivers United, a part time driver here in Los Angeles and the president of Rideshare Drivers United. We’re an organization of about 20,000 app drivers in California.

The reason I’m here is because in California, we’re in the same situation, we’re attempting to make critical carbon reduction efforts, and in the process, not harm drivers and make sure driver voice is part of it is, what Rideshare United is trying to do.

And maybe you can learn from some of our process, we’re still very much in process. Our deadline is 2030, to move to all zero emissions vehicles by 2030, in a rideshare/platform driving community.

And the good thing is that the way the legislation passed, it required that the burden of the transition, the economic burden, not fall on middle to low income drivers, which is basically all of us. It’s a complex pathway to that goal, you guys are talking about charging ability for most of us even charge where we live, purchase vehicles all over the world where drivers are making less money every single year, which requires us to drive more and more hours, and we are less and less able to even replace the vehicles we drive.

When they used gas vehicles at this time, we found that we had to direct government redirect government, they thought that incentivizing companies meant helping drivers to get zero emission cars.

Actually, we have to remind our legislators that the fleet is owned by tens of thousands of of poor people.

And incentivizing us, understanding our barriers is key, or is or basically this transition would result in tens of thousands of us losing our income completely with no safety net of unemployment, as long as we’re classified falsely as independent contractors.

So, understand first, that with our constant reduction in pay, we estimate we’ve lost about 50 per cent of our income in the last two to three years. There’s no way that what I heard in this room earlier, that drivers are making $35 an hour before tips. That’s what Uber says we’re making here.

Our study at the end of 2021 showed that we were making under $7 An hour US dollar after maintenance, fuel costs and depreciation, and the fact that because of our fake independent contracting status, we do not have access to unemployment, workers compensation etc.

So, we really should be putting money away to compensate for those issues. I’m happy to get you copies of our study of what we really make. And probably it’s very similar to what’s going on in Toronto. So, when a representative of Uber says we’re, they’re giving $10,000 to drivers to get EVs, I’m strongly suspicious of those numbers.

For instance, in our market, every ride Uber charges about 80 cents for benefits to passengers use both the health benefits. Our study shows that less than 10 per cent of drivers are even getting a penny towards any of our health benefits. And then, within that, the majority of us are actually covered by MediCal, which is California’s program for health care for those living in poverty.

So, it’s like a shell game: drivers don’t see the add ons, but passengers pay it, the same thing is happening with surges, passengers are paying these huge costs for high demand, drivers aren’t seeing it, right?

And on the occasions that we do actually reduce our base pay. So, the surge isn’t as big as it looks like it’s going to be because the base pay goes down on those, it’s a shell game, it happens in almost everything that they do.

And you know, this is AI management, that, that that favors the companies. So, our biggest thing is making sure that when you know government, in its best interest to try to help us buy EVs, but the money flow cannot be controlled by the companies. That is a huge mistake.

We believe the shell game will take place that this process should not be entrusted to companies like this. The government needs to do it, or some kind of outside agency not controlled by the companies. In addition, in case there’s a stabilization at a raise of pay for drivers purchasing vehicles, it is almost impossible.

So please consider that in your calculations.”