Beyond higher pay and flexibility, Uber and Lyft created opportunities for underrepresented communities. I’ve seen Austinites who are deaf, or for whom English is not their first language, drive for Uber and Lyft successfully. Imagine an entire underrepresented community offered a new opportunity to earn a living, now part of the more than 10,000 people that have lost income.
In the startup community, I think it can be easy to overlook how difficult finding a well-paying, flexible job for most people can be. I’ve even seen people refer to the Prop 1 aftermath as “first-world problems.” This issue is not just about finding a faster, cheaper way to get to the airport. It’s about the financial impact on real people.
Uber and Lyft offer many people a chance to earn money they desperately need to make ends meet. Note that in the requirements to become an Uber driver, although you need a safe vehicle, insurance, a clean driving record and no criminal history, there are no educational requirements. This is important. 68% of Americans do NOT have a college degree but more and more jobs now require one. Compare the Uber driver requirements with those of a Testing Assistant at Austin Community College, where you’ll need at least a high school diploma and preferably an associate’s degree. The hours are not flexible, and the pay is $10.75 per hour.