Emily Guendelsberger goes undercover as an Uber driver in Philadelphia to figure out how deep the rabbit hole goes — and comes out of it with a 6000-word article, sprinkled with moments like this:
Passenger: So what’s Uber like? I hear you can make a ton of money!
Emily: Yeah, not really — when they take UberX into a new market like Philly, they start off by paying drivers a lot. So in the beginning, you get a lot of drivers who look like the drivers in Uber ads, like, suits and bottled water and no accents. And everyone gets the idea that Uber drivers have suits and make a ton of money. Then after a while, usually when a competitor comes in — you know Lyft just started up a couple weeks ago, right?
Passenger: Yeah … Emily: So then Uber cuts fares down by, like, a lot. Like, here, they just cut fares almost in half. So most of those initial drivers quit and are replaced by people willing to work for the lower amount, who are the same people who used to drive cabs. They’re just doing it for a new boss, for less money and no tips, and they’re carrying most of the liability themselves. But most riders never change that first impression that drivers make a lot of money.
Passenger: … Oh, uh, OK.