Lyft is looking for drivers – a tonic thing to discover at a time when it seems as though every effort is being expended to do away with them.
The ride-hailing company just announced it will be “partnering” with used car dealerships with the aim of helping prospective Lyft drivers find an acceptable car to drive.
Lyft will pay a finder’s fee to these dealerships for successful references – i.e., people who end up becoming Lyft drivers – and help them finance the car, too. This latter will be done via direct garnishing of the driver’s Lyft earnings, which will be transmuted into car payments.
Probably, this will be done on the Payday Loan model – which is based on the Vinnie-in-the-Alley model, which is the loanshark model. Exorbitant interest designed to keep the customer on the hook – and in hock – for as long as possible.
One issue with working for a ride-share company (whether Lyft or Uber) is that many of the people seeking such work are – if not poor – then not far from it. They lack resources. And they either don’t have a car – or they have a too-old car. The ride-sharing services generally require their contractor drivers to possess a vehicle that’s no more than a certain number of years old – and has no more than “x” miles on the clock – ostensibly for general liability reasons.
They don’t want to expose themselves to lawsuits arising out of wrecks attributable to worn out machinery. That’s reasonable enough. Of course, it would also be reasonable to simply require that a prospective Lyft driver’s car pass a mechanical inspection to determine its roadworthiness. This would aruably be more reasonable than arbitrary age/mileage cut-offs. A 15-year-old car with 110,000 miles that has been maintained properly and which is in great shape is a safer ride than a thrashed but three-year-old car with near-bald tires, iffy brakes and “only” 50,000 miles.
But because it is arbitrary, it’s a Catch 22 for the prospective Lyft (or Uber) driver. Most are either young and doing this as side work or they are in a pinch and doing it because they have to. Put another way, most don’t have newer cars because they cannot afford to buy them.
About two years ago, both Lyft and rival Uber announced plans to facilitate the financing (the leasing, actually) of new cars. But the Catch 22 reared its head. Leased or not, new cars cost too much to buy if you’re making Lyft/Uber money.
And the same goes for newish (and low-miles) used cars.
A rough working analogy would be a requirement that to work at McDonald’s one must come to work every day in a pressed Brooks Brothers suit with matching Bruno Magli shoes.
McDonald’s, in its wisdom does not insist upon such a thing.
A much better option would be to cut out the middleman entirely.
Lyft and Uber, that is.
We are told this is a free country. If so, why shouldn’t a person be free to offer their services as a driver to anyone who freely wishes to pay for those services? Why is it necessary to get permission to do so? And to only be allowed to do so under certain conditions not prescribed by the person interested in hiring a driver but by a disembodied entity – “the government” – which somehow acquired parental supervisory powers over grown men and women, who never consented to this?
It is extremely odd. Well, it is odd if we begin with the idea that we live in a free country.
Of course, we don’t live in a free country. The evidence for this claim is all around us. The fact that a person can be punished for “illegally” using his own vehicle to provide transportation services to people who wish to pay him for his services is probative. That it is necessary to indenture oneself to a company such as Lyft or Uber (or a traditional taxi company) in order to be allowed to perform this service, under their terms and conditions – and not otherwise.
People – some people – will cry that “the government” must regulate economic activity between individuals, contrary to their consent – for their safety. This is obnoxious in the extreme but has been commonly accepted by a society full of people who embrace both servility as well as its imposition on everyone else.
Hailing a ride would be much less expensive – and much more profitable for the driver – if anyone who had a serviceable car could freely use it to transport people who wished to be transported by it, without having to fear being ticketed, impounded, fined, hoosegowed.
It would certainly be much freer – for all concerned.
This idea that such would be “unsafe” presumes general stupidity, including disregard of one’s own personal welfare – and actually encourages precisely those things by taking due diligence out of the hands of free people and putting it (ostensibly) into the hands of this thing called “the government,” which necessarily cares a great deal less about our safety than we do, as we are the one most affected by threats to the same.
Meanwhile, fostering a pathetic dependence on this thing called “the government” to do the things we ought to be doing for ourselves, which act encourages the very due diligence that government discourages, by taking it upon itself.
But at least Lyft is still looking for drivers – and that’s something.
. . .
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