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By your logic craigslist sellers are employees of craigslist. What is craigslist but a network of buyers and sellers?

Craigslist sellers decide on the price, how to exchange goods and money, etc. Uber and Lyft are not free marketplaces where drivers can offer a ride for a price they believe to be fair for their services - the platform owners decide the prices and the drivers are forced to accept that rate in order to get rides.

But the drivers have the option to use another platform to get rides; they're not forced to stay on Uber only. They may also choose their own hours, Uber does not dictate when they must turn their apps on.

Well there's two important things to address there, and they're both a bit long-winded, but bear with me.

First, despite all the discussions of Uber's/Lyft's full-time drivers, there are some proportion of drivers who are just people looking to make an extra buck on their ride home from the airport and whatnot. These drivers really don't expect/require a lot of money, and are just padding their income driving somewhere they were already going. I had a friend with a six-figure income who would do Uber rides in San Diego just because it was an easy way to cover gas occasionally. This is important because it changes the market for taxi drivers - suddenly a regular and lucrative set of rides (to and from airports) have clientele who expect much cheaper rides - even if the cost those clients expect to pay can't support an individual working full time at that rate. But even if full-time drivers attempt to avoid the platform, the market has substantially changed - they can no longer get the same price for their rides. Now, this may just be a market correction, but let's look at the second factor...

Uber and Lyft and burning VC money to power their operation - Uber lost ~$1.1 billion dollars in Q1 2019 [0], and Lyft lost ~$1.14 billion in Q1 2019 [1]. These sorts of numbers tell us that Uber and Lyft are generating demand for an artificially low price for a service, which all but guarantees that the market for sustainably-priced taxi rides will be destroyed. Why would a customer purchase a ~$20 taxi fee when a VC-subsidised ~$10 ride exists?

The contention that Taxi drivers can "just not use Uber/Lyft" is pitting the depth of the pockets of taxi drivers against the pockets of Uber/Lyft's backers - it's not a reasonable expectation that taxi drivers can afford to wait out venture-capital subsidizing an unsustainable business model which destroys their livelihood in the meantime. According to the Federal Reserve in 2016, 46% of Americans reported that they would be unable to cover a $400 expense if some emergency came up [2]. I don't think we can look at Uber and say "Taxi drivers could choose not to use it" - it's looking at the choice to use the platform in absence of the context of venture capital and the support which exists for low-skilled workers against predatory employment practices.

[0] https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-earnings-q1-2019-losses...

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/07/lyft-lost-1-14b-in-q1-2019...

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/25/the-s...

if craigslist told people what price they had to charge, then you might have a point.

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