A common story I hear from established limo owners is that they started with one car and were the primary chauffeur. TNCs today have ushered in a whole new batch of drivers using cars to earn money driving people around, but they are at the whims of large tech employers who do little to help them maximize earnings other than provide heat maps for surge pricing and text alerts for high-demand times.
Harry Campbell, a part-time rideshare driver who works fulltime as an engineer, has started a blog called the “Rideshare Guy,” where he writes about his experiences traveling around and giving rides for the three big TNC apps, Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.
The goal of the blog is to help other TNC drivers make the most of their time on the road. He gives them advice on when the best times to work are, and what days of the week have high-demand, and he also gives tips on customer service to keep driver ratings high.
Limo operators are struggling to find new quality chauffeurs, and many say local TNCs have made it even harder to find quality people. It will be interesting to see if a similar entrepreneurial spirit (espoused by many current limo owners) will drive some people to become TNC drivers, which then progresses to them researching the luxury chauffeured car industry in pursuit of greater profits.
The margins in transportation have historically been low, and with TNCs, it seems like drivers have to eke it out among even tighter margins. If a driver enjoys the job of driving people, and wants to make more money doing so, and believes that they can become successful at it, we might end up seeing them at the next LCT Show, starting up bona fide limo companies with commercial insurance, licensing, etc. The limo industry might just see a whole new crop of business owners spawn out of the TNC market.
Time will tell.
It seems like for now rideshare driving for a TNC is not quite the fantastic job as advertised. An article from Wired Magazine on Campbell summed up with: “The sector’s most outspoken and strategic driver [Campbell] says rideshare driving makes a better part-time job than a full-time one. That’s a problem for the future of the workforce, which is only set to grow. For the companies that need that workforce to flourish, it’s a crisis.”
Read more about the Rideshare Guy on Wired, here.
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