Drivers ditching rideshare apps
An increasing number of drivers are abandoning popular rideshare apps due to low pay that forces users to work ridiculous hours just to get by.
The Ride Share Drivers Association of Australia (RSDAA) revealed that 50 per cent of drivers ditch rideshare apps within the first three months of joining.
The association claims this is a direct result of the low rates currently being paid to drivers, making it a "totally unsustainable" long term way of earning money for drivers.
Drivers are reportedly being affected across all major rideshare platforms, including Uber, Ola, Taxify and others, with RSDAA secretary Les Johnson saying drivers are being encouraged to sign up by false promises.
"Many drivers are encouraged to start driving with promises of high earning capacity along with the fact that they can rent cars from recommended suppliers who are also taking high rentals from unsuspecting new entrants," Mr Johnson wrote in a media release.
"The carrot held out to new entrants is a total myth."
Many drivers are reportedly forced to regularly work over 14 hours a day in order to earn enough money to cover the cost of living.
"These hours are against fatigue management laws but neither the operators or the Government Department are interested in doing anything about it, maybe when a life has been lost due to fatigue then they will do something," Mr Johnson said.
Low pay rates, added fees and high fuel costs are forcing some drivers to ditch rideshare apps, with the majority struggling to reach the average hourly rate of $16.
For example, in Queensland, the government collects numerous fees from rideshare drivers including $147 each year for Drivers Authority, $246.53 each year for Booked Hire Service Licence, $200 for an extra CTP payment and around $80 a year for a mandatory vehicle inspection.
Before new drivers are able to start taking passengers they must also undergo a medical and criminal history check at their own expense.
Uber, Ola and Taxify have been contacted for comment.
A survey of 1100 rideshare drivers released in October revealed more than 60 per cent earned below the average hourly rate before other costs like fuel, insurance and car maintenance were factored in.
The results, which were released by the Transport Workers' Union in Rideshare Driver Co-operative, also revealed a high number of drivers experienced harassment or assault.
Of those surveyed, 969 reported being harassed or assaulted as a driver, which may be another reason the turnover rate for drivers is so high.
"A passenger pinned me into my seat with his body weight while he used a hand to sexually assault me," one respondent said.
Thirty-seven per cent reported being threatened while almost a third received racist comments.
"I have had drunk passengers call me a n***er and terrorist", one driver said.
Another driver reported a passenger joked "about taking me to a remote location to rape me".
There certain operations in place to help keep drivers safe, for example Uber recently introduced new safety features including an in-app emergency button.
However, some drivers claimed it can be difficult to get riders banned from rideshare apps, believing drivers are more likely to have their accounts deactivated.
"A rider can make a totally unfounded and vexatious allegation against a driver and without any type of right of reply the driver can be flicked off the platform," Mr Johnson said.
"This has caused extreme financial hardship for many drivers as they are left with no income and in a lot of cases a car that they still must pay for."