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What protections are needed for drivers in the era of Uber and Lyft?

Photo by Joe Le Merou used under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr



On this edition of Your Call, we’ll talk about the desperation felt by drivers for taxis and companies like Uber and Lyft. The median income for these drivers is $24,000 a year. How has the explosion of these services impacted drivers?



On February 5, Doug Schifter, a 61-year-old New York City driver for hire, shot and killed himself in front of New York City Hall. He left a note saying he’d rather be dead than be “a slave working for chump change” and called Uber a "liar, cheat, and thief." How should regulators and companies protect drivers who are struggling to make ends meet?


Bhairavi Desai, founding member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and a longtime labor organizer

Syed Mohsin, a San Francisco taxicab driver for more than 20 years

Edward Escobar, a San Francisco Uber and Lyft driver, advocate and organizer for drivers, and founder of The Alliance for Independent Workers


Adriano Espaillat, Congressmember representing New York’s 13th district

Web Resources:

NY Daily News: It’s an emergency for the city’s drivers: Start acting like it, Mr. Mayor

KQED: The Human Cost of Uber and Lyft: Life in the Dying Taxi Industry

Associated Press: Studies are increasingly clear: Uber and Lyft congest cities

MIT: The Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.