The Gig Economy Strikes Back

A group of Uber and Lyft drivers serving Washington National Airport have taken to simultaneously turning off their apps to drive surge pricing to increase their fares:

Drivers for ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber have organized for better pay through collective action – and not by unionizing.

Here’s how it works: a group of drivers who pick up passengers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, outside the US capital, have been turning off their taxi apps simultaneously to influence the surge pricing algorithms used by the two companies.

A report published last week by local ABC affiliate WJLA-TV recounts how a group of 100-150 drivers all turned off their driver apps in sync – coordinated by an individual using an unidentified app – to create the false impression of a local driver shortage.

With the ride supply down as demand peaks, the taxi apps’ surge pricing algorithms kick in, offering higher rates to entice more drivers to come to the airport. Minutes later, once the price rises anywhere from $10 to $19 or so, the drivers sign back on and accept the fare at a level they find more reasonable.

This is why you should not do business with companies that treat their employees like crap.

Even ignoring the ethical issues, it is likely that those poorly treated employees will find a way to fight back, and you are likely to be the battlefield.

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