The Drivers Cooperative

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The Drivers Cooperative
TypeWorker cooperative
Industrytransportation, technology
Founded2020 (2020)
Headquarters,
Area served
New York City
Key people
Ken Lewis, David Alexis, Erik Forman, Alissa Orlando, Mohammad Hossen
Websitedrivers.coop

The Drivers Cooperative or Co-Op Ride is an American ridesharing company and mobile app that is a workers cooperative, owned collectively by the drivers.[1][2] The cooperative launched in May 2020 in New York City,[3][4] with the first 2,500 drivers issued their ownership certificates in a media event.[5][6]

The cooperative was co-founded by Grenadan immigrant and for hire vehicle driver Ken Lewis, labor organizer Erik Forman, and former Uber executive Alissa Orlando.[7][6][8] Mohammad Hossen is the first member of the drivers' advisory board, which they plan to expand democratically as more drivers are onboarded.[7][9] Other staff include software and industry veterans and in addition to co-founder Lewis, there are other drivers in management roles such as ex-driver and organizer David Alexis.[9][8][10]

The Co-Op Ride app is on the iOS and Android platforms and is built on Google Maps, Stripe, and Waze.[11] By July, the app had been downloaded by 30,000 users and the number of drivers increased to 3,400,[12] and by August there were 40,000 users.[13]

The cooperative is owned by the drivers themselves, and takes 15% from each ride for business overhead costs, as opposed to the 25% to 40% ride hail apps like Uber or Lyft take per ride.[14][4][7][13][11] While being ultimately owned by the driver members, not by investors, the cooperative began with seed money from the Minnesota-based Community Development Financial Institution Shared Capital Cooperative,[3] the local Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union,[4][6] and welcomed individual donations via crowdfunding in the form of revenue sharing debt on Wefunder.[12][13] Each driver is a member of the cooperative and owns one share of the company and one vote in business and leadership decisions.[5][4] In addition to a larger percentage of the fees per ride driven, each driver as a part-owner will also receive a share of the company's profits after loans and other expenses are paid, in the form of weighted dividends.[5][4][13] The drivers use their own cars.[15]

The cooperative vets its owner-members further than what is already performed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC),[14] and gives a fixed price when a car is ordered and does not engage in surge pricing.[2][11] The TLC imposed a minimum payrate for mobile app ridesharing companies operating in New York city in 2018.[4] In 2021 that is $1.26 per mile which Uber and Lyft do not pay above; the cooperative pays a minimum mileage of $1.64.[4][13] The cooperative intends to be able to set aside 10% of profits to community foundations and other non-profits and community organizations.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jones, Sarah (December 22, 2020). "Can a Worker-Owned App Pull Drivers From Uber and Lyft?". Curbed.
  2. ^ a b Akhtar, Allana. "I tried the new ride-hailing app in NYC designed to take driver power back from Uber and Lyft, and although it's still working out some kinks, I was happy to help drivers get more money". Business Insider.
  3. ^ a b "Hailing a new, co-op ride-hailing app owned by drivers". The Riverdale Press.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Toussaint, Kristin (July 15, 2021). "How the Drivers Cooperative built a worker-owned alternative to Uber and Lyft". Fast Company.
  5. ^ a b c "Driver-Owned Ride-Share Service 'Drivers Cooperative' Launches In New York City". WLNY CBS 10. June 4, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Conger, Kate (May 28, 2021). "A Worker-Owned Cooperative Tries to Compete With Uber and Lyft". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c "New York City Drivers Cooperative Aims to Smash Uber's Exploitative Model". In These Times.
  8. ^ a b "In the Drivers' Seat". Dollars & Sense.
  9. ^ a b "Invest in The Drivers Cooperative: A ridehailing platform owned by workers, not billionaire founders and venture capital. | Wefunder". The Drivers Cooperative on Wefunder.
  10. ^ Verde, Ben (6 October 2021). "Socialist organizer David Alexis announces primary challenge to State Sen. Kevin Parker". Brooklyn Paper.
  11. ^ a b c "You Can Now Ditch Uber for a Driver-Owned Rideshare App in New York City". Gizmodo. June 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Driver-Owned Uber Alternative Looks to Crowdfund $1 Million". Bloomberg. July 14, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Driver co-op raising $1 million to battle Uber and Lyft". Protocol. August 20, 2021.
  14. ^ a b "New App Aims To Compete With Uber, Lyft While Giving New York Drivers A Living Wage". NPR.
  15. ^ "When Drivers are in the Drivers' Seat for Taxi and Ride-Hail Companies". nextcity.org.

External links[edit]