“APPENDIX TWO: RIDEHAILING BEYOND UBER Meet Lyft, the Younger Twin.” Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work, by ALEX ROSENBLAT, 1st ed., University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2018, pp. 217–220. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctv5cgbm3.13.
Alex Rosenblat’s “APPENDIX TWO: RIDEHAILING BEYOND UBER Meet Lyft, the Younger Twin” addresses the competition within the rideshare industry, emphasized in the similarities and differences in the digital applications Lyft and Uber. The article opens by discussing the nearly identical business practices of Lyft and Uber. The applications, for the most part, function in exactly the same way with a few exceptions regarding the way that passengers can “rate” their drivers. According to accounts from several drivers, Lyft is a better application in that it communicates with its drivers better, but it makes drivers less money because it isn’t as popular. Lyft is marketed as a more positive and interactive environment, whereas Uber is a silent exchange of services. As Uber is much more popular than Lyft, Uber provides more resources to its drivers. While the communication between the company and the drivers may seem cold and robotic, it is certainly more reliable than that of Lyft. This chapter will be helpful in that it explores Uber’s competition, noting the pros and cons of each application and the overall comparison in how users interact with rideshare applications.
“CONCLUSION: The New Age of Uber—How Technology Consumption Rewrote the Rules of Work.” Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work, by ALEX ROSENBLAT, 1st ed., University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2018, pp. 197–208. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctv5cgbm3.11.
Alex Rosenblat’s conclusion of his Book titled “How Technology Consumption Rewrote the Rules of Work” addresses the profound impact of Uber as a new technology on the future of work. The central theme of the article addresses the idea that Uber is the future of practical applications of technology. The conclusion begins by exploring drivers’ perspective of Uber as a job without a boss. Most Uber drivers are left to fend for themselves when asking questions and finding information regarding the so called “labor practices” of Uber (198). Uber drivers frequent forums and other forms of social media to interact with other drivers. The employer-employee relationship in the digital world is unregulated and has no prerequisite: this digital aspect changes the nature of the work environment, drivers are working for a “faceless boss” (199). Uber has redefined the traditional meaning and structure of a job forever. While Uber drivers are few in number, their impact on “the role of technology in popularizing and expanding a longer-term trend in the growth of contingent work” (203-204) is large-scale; Uber’s impact on the way we interact with and participate in technology has eliminated the interpersonal nature of technology forever. Uber is also a form of social media because it allows individuals to be up to date with the newest form of participatory media. In our society, being able to Uber is a measure of class and status. Cities that do not have Uber suffer in terms of tourism and stable infrastructure: “Uber…changes the way we move around cities” (205). This article will be particularly useful to me as it concludes a larger novel that entirely focuses on the social impact of rideshare applications such as Uber.
“IS UBER A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY?: July 23, 2015.” Reflections on Progress: Essays on the Global Political Economy, by KEMAL DERVIŞ, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 2016, pp. 45–48. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1dgn63k.17.
Kemal Dervis’ “IS UBER A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY?” discusses the impact of digital media on the employment of traditional transportation services such as Taxis. The article mentions the innovation and proliferation of Uber, stating that it “will not be stopped so easily” (46). Additionally, the article continues to say that Uber is beneficial for jobs overall; however, the issue of digital media taking over traditional jobs must be addressed. Due to the nature of this new form of digital media as a form of transportation, there is little to no way to regulate the use of Uber in comparison to Taxis. As a result of the privatization of companies like Uber, there are little to no rules to which Uber must comply. Lastly, the article discusses the idea that there is a large income inequality created by the application: the democratization of the platform creates a disparity of financial returns between the “higher ups” in Uber and the actual employees. The article, however, recognizes that this age of new media cannot and will not be stopped. In spite of this realization, the article suggests that there needs to be some sort of new regulatory process to cope with the changing digital age. This article will be useful for my project as it addresses the lack of rules and regulations regarding this new form of media.
Majoo, Farhad. “With Uber, Less Reason to Own a Car” New York Times, The New York Times Company. June 12, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/technology/personaltech/with-ubers-cars-maybe-we-dont-need-our-own.html?searchResultPosition=112&login=smartlock&auth=login-smartlock
Farhad Manjoo’s article “With Uber, Less Reason to Own a Car”, also written in the NYTimes in 2014, addresses the implications of Uber on purchasing and leasing cars. Manjoo suggests that
transportation scholars, or people who study patterns in the way we navigate the world, would never have fathomed the impact of technology, or transportation in the form of digital media, several years ago. Most importantly, the scholars would never have imagined a vast enough impact to “decrease private car ownership.” Manjoo continues by addressing the cost of Ubering dailly in relationship to the price of owning and maintaining a car. Other benefits of rideshare applications, he speculated in 2014, including a decrease in the cost of living, positive environmental impact, and the reengineering of space occupied by parking lots. Manjoo, alongside the other scholars I examined, focuses on the comparison with Taxi usage and availability. He stated that there aren’t enough Taxis worldwide, more specifically in large cities like New York; thus, the efficiency and convenience of Uber is enough to change the way that we think about transportation in the future. This article, similar to the other NYTimes article, is relevant to my experience as it discusses the lack of need for a car; I mentioned this concept in my personal essay with respect to my personal use of Uber in college.
Moon, Youngme. “Uber: Changing the Way the World Moves.” Harvard Business School, Harvard University. January 24, 2017. PDF. https://files.transtutors.com/cdn/uploadassignments/2861614_1_f81f8f53-881f-47cc-8e8b-41dde8062353.pdf
This article written by Youngme Moon at Harvard Business School discusses the large scale effect of Uber on the way that individuals navigate the world. Firstly, the article mentions the backlash against the application for its inability to follow rules. In spite of this backlash, the large scale growth of Uber as a global phenomenon and the overall profit of the application allowed Uber to maintain its expansion. One of the most notable quotes in the article is in reference to Uber’s popularity: “its brand name was already in regular use as a verb” (1). This statement alludes to the overall social impact of Uber due to its ability to be integrated into our common language. Moon proceeds to mention the anonymity and straightforward process of using Uber. He focuses on the lack of interaction that is necessary with an Uber driver due to the preset navigation, price, and payment method within the application. Similar to Rosenblatt’s article, he addresses the anonymity and lack of resources of Uber drivers. He states that the drivers are “independent contractors”: they receive no compensation or benefits such as healthcare or vacation leave. A large section of the article compares the price of driving for Uber to the price of driving a Taxi and renting a medallion. This article will be helpful to me because it is an overview of the growing popularity of Uber as a whole.
Nocera, Joe. “Uber’s Rough Ride” New York Times, The New York Times Company. March 22, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/opinion/joe-nocera-ubers-rough-ride.html?searchResultPosition=124.
Joe Nocera’s article “Uber’s Rough Ride” from the NYTimes was written in 2014 just after Uber had begun to gain popularity. The article first discusses the ease of use of the Uber application, describing how each function works and how the app charges you per fare. He argues that Uber is “a thing of beauty” because it “disrupts a business model that has existed for a very long time.” This second quotation is in reference to the competition with Taxis and Taxi drivers in new york city: the ongoing competition between the two platforms, and their drivers, is evident; Taxi drivers feel threatened by the presence of Uber. Due to the innovation of the Uber application and its relatively simple user interface, the application is functional and easy to use for people of all ages. Occasionally Uber is even easier than hailing a cab, explaining directions to the driver, and paying. He continues specifically mentioning that if you live in New York City, Taxis cannot even compete with Uber at rush hour. Uber’s ease of use and constant availability, even when its raining, reinvents the way that we think about transportation. This article is particularly relevant to me as it focuses on Uber, and it’s competition, in New York City; this relates to my anecdote about my own life in my personal essay.
Posen, Hannah A. “Ridesharing in the Sharing Economy: Should Regulators Impose Uber Regulations on Uber.” Iowa Law Review, vol. 101, no. 1, November 2015, p. 405-434. HeinOnline, https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/ilr101&i=424.
This article written by Hannah Posen will be essential to my research paper as it explains that Uber’s success is due to it’s audacity to be a pioneer in the world of digital media. Posen suggests that Uber’s success is due, in part, to its ability to connect people to cars, and places, to which they otherwise wouldn’t have access. This success is predicated on the fact that Uber is so easy to use in our “always-connected world” surrounded by digital media (417). Additionally, she states that the services provided by Uber are unparalleled; Uber is essentially the experience of a modernized Taxi. One issue Posen finds is that Uber exists within a sharing economy; this new form of innovation is unregulated and needs to be maintained. Due to the digital nature of Uber, we must create a new set of guidelines for this new innovation; however, we must first explore the regulations on other forms of transportation, specifically Taxis. She concludes her argument by mentioning that the Taxi industry would never have imagined “that technology and innovation would create ride sharing services like Uber” (432). The innovation of applications like Uber have created a whole new concept that was once unfathomable.