Next City Podcast – November 24, 2021

You’ve probably heard complaints about Uber and Lyft from drivers who spend all day working for the apps but who aren’t full-time employees. A group of drivers started asking, “Why don’t we have our own app?” And from there, a new app that is 100% worker owned was born. It’s already live in the nation’s biggest competitive market – New York City.

Drivers say they’re being pushed into poverty by rideshare giants like Uber and Lyft that made false promises about wages while loading them with expenses. Now they’re starting a rideshare alternative that’s owned by the drivers, not Silicon Valley investors.  

Next City senior economics correspondent Oscar Perry Abello first reported about The Drivers Cooperative in March, before its “Co-op Ride” app had launched. Now the app is live and already serving thousands of customers, primarily those who rely on Co-Op Ride for scheduled rides. 

In this episode of the podcast, Next City executive director Lucas Grindley talks with Abello and with one of the founders, Ken Lewis. He says that when shareholders are replaced by the drivers themselves, he hopes the profession can become a pathway to the American dream.

“It used to be something to push into middle-class,” said Lewis of the drivers profession. “Right now, it has been pushing drivers into poverty.”

Listen to the podcast here