Ah, the sharing economy. It’s changed all our lives for the better. We can stay at people’s apartments, order food from anywhere we want, and, of course, zip around in our Uber to anywhere and everywhere for a fraction of the price we paid for cabs. Regular cab services used to be a sort of cartel, offering fixed prices and terrible service in cramped vehicles. But now there’s Uber, with its relatively new cars and courteous drivers that drive you to your destination with no fuss and little money. Everybody wins right? Not so much.
There are losers in Uber’s sharing economy, namely, the drivers. While the sharing economy was greatly bolstered by Uber, and it used to be that drivers could earn a living, this is no longer the case. Currently, Uber drivers, who are mostly immigrants or those who struggle to find employment, are sometimes making below minimum wage, which you can see in this video of a driver yelling at then CEO Travis Kalanick. This overall disdain for Uber is being felt most of all in New York, where the company is used by almost everyone. If you live in New York you’re probably either an Uber driver or rider, and everyone is feeling this tension.
Well, not everybody is standing back and letting Uber swindle it’s drivers out of a living salary. Rydar is launching its new Uber driver companion app to help drivers get the edge and hopefully make a respectable salary off of their Uber driving careers. While many Uber driver companion apps exist, Rydar is the only one using Uber’s official API to power their app, so the app works automatically for drivers and has more functionality than the competition.
The app’s main selling points are an event calendar, so drivers can plan ahead for events that are coming up in their area, which could prove to be lucrative opportunities, pickup hotspots Uber drivers should hang around due to high traffic of Uber users, surge notifications, which is a common feature with other apps, and a mileage tracker that uses Uber’s API to track miles. According to Ryder, their app is the only one that automatically tracks drivers’ miles, rather than making them input the miles themselves. Mileage trackers are pretty common on the app store and help drivers figure out their income versus the upkeep of their car and gas costs.
Uber was recently pressured into allowing riders to tip their drivers through various lawsuits and public pressure. This coupled with a strong TV and online campaign by their major competitor, Lyft (centered on the fact that Lyft allowed tipping since the beginning), painted Uber in a really bad light. It seems though that others, like Rydar, are doing their best to help drivers by working with Uber, rather than against it, building technological solutions, rather than PR ones.
Rydar boasts all these things, but they haven’t really shared any testimonials showing that these features actually drastically improve drivers’ income, or if the app just gives them an extra buck or two a month, which might not be worth the hassle.