[Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an LCT exclusive “Industry Uber Impact Study.” The study results were published in the February issue, pp. 28-31. Respondents included a cross-section of large-, medium- and small-fleet operators with 64.6% reporting fleet sizes from one to 10 vehicles.]
Finding and hiring experienced professional chauffeurs has ranked consistently as a top priority among operators nationwide since the economy has rebounded.
Since Uber launched in San Francisco in 2009 and spread widely starting in 2011, operators have been debating the on-demand company’s effects on the industry, and more importantly, wrestled with allowing chauffeurs to participate as drivers for transportation network companies (TNCs).
Overall, about one quarter of respondents said they allow or sometimes allow chauffeurs to work for TNCs. When asked, “Do you allow your chauffeurs/drivers to participate in on-demand reservations with TNCs such as Uber?” 50% responded, “No, and I don’t intend to allow them;” 15% said yes; 10%, sometimes; and almost 25% forbid it “but may (allow) in the future.”
Do chauffeurs moonlight? When operators who do not allow chauffeurs to drive for TNCs were asked if they think chauffeurs do, most (76%) said no while 24% said yes. Of those operators who permit chauffeurs to drive for TNCs, most (67%) said some of their chauffeurs participate, and 28% said most participate.
How have TNCs affected hiring? Most respondents (66%) who do not allow TNC participation reported that they haven’t lost any chauffeurs to TNCs — 34% said they have. On the flip side, 33% of respondents said they have hired TNC drivers as chauffeurs while 67% have not.
On the question, “How have TNCs/Uber affected your ability to recruit chauffeurs overall?” responses were mixed. A plurarlity (48%) said TNCs have not affected recruiting, 26% said TNCs have had some effect; 18% said it’s made recruiting more difficult; and 7% said it’s eased recruitment. Obviously, geography plays a part in the responses, as TNCs are mostly established in large cities and adjacent metro regions.