Uber drivers being 'ripped off and abused'
Drivers for Uber and other rideshare companies are being ripped off, assaulted, threatened and racially abused, a new survey reveals.
The survey of 1100 drivers released today says more than 60 percent reported earning below the average hourly $16 rate, before costs such as fuel, insurance and car maintenance.
There were also 969 reports of harassment and assault.
The survey, by the Transport Workers' Union and Rideshare Driver Co-operative, reported one-in-10 drivers being physically assaulted on the job while six per cent were sexually assaulted.
"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 told the survey.
Another driver reported a passenger joked "about taking me to a remote location to rape me."
One respondent filed a police report after being held at knifepoint, with the rideshare company failing to deactivate the passenger's accounts.
Drivers also complained of being immediately deactivated from the ride-share apps when passengers leave wallets behind or make false reports.
"Drivers want to be paid a fair rate, we want protections against threats and assaults and we want to go to work and know our company will not sack us without giving us a right of reply," said the co-operative's Emmett D'Urso.
The Transport Workers' Union's Tony Sheldon said the "shocking and disturbing" survey results reveal the true nature of the on-demand economy, where drivers are being ripped off and forced to struggle.
"They're offered no support when they face sexual or physical assault and must choose between taking time off work to recover or going back to work the next day in order to get paid," he said.
"They are kicked off the app on a whim of the ride-share companies and prevented from earning a living.
"These survey results expose the lie from the federal government that people can make a fair wage in the on-demand economy. In reality, what's going on is eighteenth century exploitation via an app."
The survey was conducted between July and October. Respondents, some of whom work for multiple rideshare companies, work for Uber (97%), Ola (46%), Taxify (26%), DiDi (22%) and others (15%).
Uber, Ola, Taxify and DiDi have been contacted for comment.