How Long Will You Last In The Rideshare Industry?

Chicago Dispatcher

Photo by Rick Soderquist

 

Cab Driver

Photo by Christopher Becker

Entry Plan

When I first entered the cab industry five years ago, I didn’t expect to be in it for more than a year. The main reason that I received my chauffeur’s licence and be able to drive a cab in the first place was the flexibility the job offered while I was attending film school. Two years after leaving film school I found myself not as a cab driver, but still driving for a living.

While I was in the cab industry, I received a certain amount of notoriety that likely lead me to my overstay in the industry. I was nominated “Cab Driver of the Month” in July 2011 after 6 months in the industry.

While in film school, I started a documentary film about the cab industry called “Cab Slaves”, and a few years later I was interviewed by the Chicago Reader.

It was during that summer of 2011, at the staging area of O’hare airport, when I was practicing my guitar, that I would talk to the older-timers, cab drivers that had been in the industry for 10 to 40 years or more. It was here that I became enlightened to the unspoken secrets about driving for a living. I heard the heartbreaking stories from cab drivers about their unbroken marriages, cheating wives who missed their husband’s being away from home too long, the exploitation and corruption that was inflicted on cab drivers and the major health issues that came along with driving full-time for too long.

cabbie-eric-600

Photo by Andrea Bauer

 

 

It was the health issues is what frightened me the most. There were the tales of back problems, arthritis, developing mental issues and even death. Yes, I heard more than a few stories about a number of cab drivers dying right in the driver’s seat of their cabs at O’hare airport staging area waiting for a fare back to the city.

I knew for sure that I would never experience any of those medical issues because I was going to be in-and-out of this industry as soon as I finished film school.

What I feared is now starting to happen to me after driving full-time for the last few years. I’m starting to feel those back pains and joint pains in my elbows from moving the steering wheel for 10 -12 hours a day.

For those that are new entering the ride-share industry, there is no history for you to draw upon to know the havoc this type of life can bring upon you. However, the ugly ride-industry monster is starting to show it’s head and we are starting to see the collateral damage among rideshare drivers.

 

  • High turn-0ver rate of drivers
  • Decreased income from an unlimited supply of drivers
  • The straining and dissolving of relationships and marriages
  • Homicides of drivers
  • Health issues


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Exit Plan

At the beginning of 2015, it eventually dawned on me that I need to make an exit plan or things will only get worse. I decided to get my real estate licence for the second time. In August 2015, I passed my real estate exam. But the reality is that passing the exam wasn’t enough as I’m still ride-sharing for a living. Because of the price of entry that it takes to start a real estate career, I still have to drive to meet my monthly expenses and save enough money to start my real estate business.

Last week, to stack the odds in my favor of financial survival  for my exit move, I added a real estate business opportunity. This is my exit plan.

I would encourage anyone that is a rideshare driver to really consider coming up with an exit plan. This profession will only take rideshare drivers prisoners socially and financially and make a slave to the industry. D0 anything you can to come up with an exit strategy to get of this industry as fast as you can.

 

1 Comment on "How Long Will You Last In The Rideshare Industry?"

  1. Find your articles interestin, Eric. Thanks for sharing

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