Driving yourself crazy


By Thomas Ryder, CONTRIBUTOR
Floods of students at California State University, East Bay sign up for ridesharing jobs as a way to earn enough money to become self-sufficient, prompting others to reveal the disadvantages they discover. While the appeal of quick-earned cash can be irresistible, one should consider aspects of the job before committing, as many young drivers are reporting negative outcomes.
As a result of failed ridesharing careers, some students are left in debt and succumb to the stress of car maintenance. Driving for rideshare companies rarely offer opportunities for advancement and is not highly regarded by many employers. For these reasons, rideshare wages are not sufficient for typical living costs combined with increased auto repair costs that come with driving.
Additional insurance requirements, tax implications. and financial-aid implications are three concerning factors for a potential rideshare driver. The extra costs combined with inconvenient peak-earning hours make for an impractical job for students balancing studying time and small budgets. Young employees often do not take as much time to inquire about information for a job that would allow them to know how suitable ridesharing jobs would be.
To improve conditions for Californian workers, Governor Newsome recently signed into law Assembly Bill 5 which adds worker protections in many labor sectors including rideshare drivers.
“Under AB 5 [which took effect Jan. 1] Californians will be considered to be employees of a business unless an employer can show the work they perform meets a detailed set of criteria,” according to a Los Angeles Times article by John Myers, Johana Bhuiyan, and Margot Roosevelt. As this bill was passed, as many as half a million drivers are now treated as independent contractors, as opposed to actual benefit-earning employees of rideshare apps. Those who have already taken losses in the form of low wages, inconsiderate payouts, or personal/automobile damages, may never see full compensation from their respective ridesharing employers.
A student wishing to make a living by driving for a rideshare service in their spare time will absolutely need to consider the many drawbacks of committing their time and vehicle before they begin driving passengers. A 2009 article by TechCrunch reiterates, “One specific goal, set by John Bares, the engineer then in charge of Uber’s autonomous vehicles, was for Uber to be able to forgo human safety drivers by 2020.”
With this in mind, one can not hope to retain a long-standing job in this evolving industry. Although it may be enticing for those who cannot obtain other jobs for whatever reason, students typically need more regulated schedules to balance their other obligations.