Ridesharing is a brilliant idea! Not only does it encourage people to not drink and drive, it also is great for the environment and fuel conservation. I am curious as to how much money an Uber or Lyft driver actually makes. And if it is a lucrative business move to become an independent driver. Of course, being a single mom, I have more part-time jobs now than I can handle just to make ends meet. Yes, jobs are scarce, because I have all of the jobs. If I gave up a few of them, it would likely help to balance the economy. So, the last thing I need is another job. But what are the requirements to become an independent driver? I know that cab drivers require special certifications and licensing. They must attend defensive driving classes, additional training and background checks. I’ve only taken Uber once, and the fare was surprisingly low. But then, it was not during peak traffic conditions.

The latest news buzz is all about Uber and Lyft suspending their business in Austin, Texas because they want to regulate their own drivers. While the new city ordinance requires companies like Uber and Lyft to be regulated like taxis. That means, among other things, drivers would have to be fingerprinted as part of a background check. According to a report by NPR, last year, Uber and Lyft withdrew from San Antonio over a similar requirement that drivers be fingerprinted. The companies returned months later under a program that made fingerprinting voluntary. Meanwhile, Houston also has rules requiring drivers for ride-hailing apps to be fingerprinted. Uber has previously threatened to withdraw from Houston over that ordinance. According to Culturemap Houston, the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, responded, “If it comes down to public safety on one hand and Uber staying on the other, I don’t think it is even close.” Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles are considering similar regulations on ride-hailing apps, according to The Associated Press.

So, although independent drivers may not be as stringently regulated as cab drivers, it still worries me that they may not be available in such a large “party city” like Austin. With 6th street all abuzz, South By Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits (ACL) and many other annual festivals where people come from all over the world to attend, and drinking is a part of that experience, for most, it is disturbing that more people will be likely to drink and drive. Although cabs will still be available, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) claims that Uber, for one, is saving lives because it is an easy app to manipulate when impaired. The app retains your credit card information, so no money is exchanged with the driver, and the tip is already rolled into the fare. It retains your home address and GPS will let the driver know where you are when requesting a ride. Accidents and DWI related fatalities will likely be at staggering (no pun intended) all time highs (again, no pun intended).

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Ridesharing – Comedy Defensive Driving