Safety is a major concern with 969 reports of harassment and assault, and 37% of drivers saying they have received threats. One out of 10 drivers said they have been physically assaulted while over 6% have been sexually assaulted, according to the survey conducted by the Rideshare Drivers’ Co-operative and the Transport Workers’ Union.
Drivers have faced deaths threats towards them and their families, rape threats, sexual assault, being punched in the face, held at knifepoint, had their car windows broken, their cars stolen and have received racial abuse. They have been immediately deactivated from the ride-share apps when passengers leave wallets in their cars or when passengers make entirely false reports. Almost two-thirds of drivers have had false reports by passengers.
“These survey results are shocking and disturbing. They reveal the true face of the on-demand economy where Uber, Ola, Taxify and DiDi are ripping drivers off and forcing them to struggle. They are offered no support when they face sexual or physical assault and must choose between taking time off work to recover or going back to work the next day in order to get paid. They are kicked off the app on a whim of the ride-share companies and prevented from earning a living. These survey results expose the lie from the Federal Government that people can make a fair wage in the on-demand economy. In reality what is going on is eighteenth century exploitation via an app,” said Tony Sheldon, the Transport Workers’ Union on-demand economy campaign director.
“Drivers want to be paid a fair rate, we want protections against threats and assaults and we want to go to work and know our company will not sack us without giving us a right of reply. We want companies to stop making changes without consultation that make it hard for us to earn a living and support our families. We have rights and we want our companies to respect these rights,” said Emmett D’Urso, of the Rideshare Drivers’ Co-operative.
The average hourly wage of $16 per hour is after company fees and taxes but before costs such as fuel, insurance, car maintenance, etc. Half of ride-share drivers work full time with almost one in three saying they drive ride-share to pay debts. More than two out of three full-time drivers earn below the ABS weekly average earnings of $1,586. Over 85% are not satisfied with their earnings; three-quarters say company fees are too high; and 40% struggle to pay their taxes
Almost 30% have received racist comments and one in five drivers have received sexual comments. Over 40% of drivers have had their property damaged. The survey was conducted between July and October. Respondents work for Uber (97%), Ola (46%), Taxify (26%), DiDi (22%) and other ride-share companies (15%), with some drivers working for multiple ride-share companies.