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Rideshare drivers struggling as industry 'oversaturated', workers say

Rideshare drivers have been struggling to find enough work since coming out of lockdown.

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Kiwis in the industry say it's due to an oversaturation of workers with Covid-19 job casualties largely to blame. Source: 1 NEWS

By Sam Wat

Those in the industry say it’s due to an oversaturation of workers, with Covid-19 job casualties largely to blame.

Auckland Uber driver Lalit Desai works an extra day a week now to try make up the lost income but even then, it’s not enough.

“I was getting close to 45 rides in a day, but now it’s probably 25. That’s a huge drop.”

The father of two says it’s cut into his family time.

There’s been a 35 percent increase in Ola drivers since February, and a nearly 20 percent increase in active Uber drivers since August last year.

“I fear there’ll be too many Ubers in the city,” Desai said.

Rideshare Consultants, an accountancy firm that specialises in helping these drivers, has been inundated with queries from people wanting to get behind the wheel.

“There has been a massive increase in enquiries from new drivers…90 percent of them are Covid-related,” the company’s IT guru Deep Sharma said.

Now there are renewed calls for drivers to be classified as employees, rather than contractors, so they have more protection.

“They shouldn't be denied basic work rights that you and I take for granted because uber, this mega global corporate has decided to engage them as contractors and pay them less than the minimum wage,” First Union’s Anita Rosentreter said.

While summer’s the busiest season for Uber, drivers are worried it won’t be enough.

“You’ll see people going on family trips. They’re not driving Uber, they’re driving cars around,” Sharma said.

Mr Desai is hoping work will pick up over the next couple of months, but he’s not hopeful.

“I don’t see it getting too far better than what it is right now.”