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MAYRA BELTRAN / HOUSTON CHRONICLE

The taxi wars: Full-time with Uber, but running on fumes
In Houston, drivers fear bad ratings, lack of insurance coverage and unreliable income
September 15, 2015 9:00AM ET
by E. Tammy Kim @etammykim
Editor's note: This is the second story in a four-part series, reported and published with the Houston Chronicle, which examines the impact of Uber, the app-based ride-hailing service, on America's fourth-largest city. Read part one here.

HOUSTON - One hundred job applications and still nothing. Jennifer Cantrell, 34, partway through a master's degree in social work, had depleted her savings and needed a new plan. Through Facebook, she found out about someone subleasing cars to prospective drivers for Uber, the smartphone-based ride service. It seemed promising: She didn't own a car but had a license and the willingness to learn the road.

Uber offered "freedom and flexibility," she had heard. The company had advertised that drivers could earn an annual full-time income of $90,000. "You'll make plenty of money and have plenty to pay him and pay your bills," Cantrell thought.

So she leased a car and signed up with UberX. Yet after several months of pulling 30- to 40-hour weeks, and sometimes 60 or even 70, she found herself in the red, not only with the owner of her new Toyota but with her landlord as well. Her weekly earnings statements looked decent on their face - after Uber's cut, around $400 for 35 hours - but she'd somehow be left with just $100 a week once she figured in gas and the lease.

Uber likes to boast that its affordable UberX "ride-sharing" service is powered by part-time drivers seeking work "outside the 9 to 5." That sounds like a convenient sideline for people just like Cantrell: a cooler, more middle-class population than is usually drawn to taxi driving. Except that, for her, UberX was not a part-time gig; it was a full-time job that paid less than the minimum wage.

You can read the full story on the Houston Chronicle website.
This story is spot on and trust me in the not so distant future law schools will use Uber when covering labor laws.
 
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