UCLA Labor Center

Summer Students Investigate LA’s Ride-Sharing Industry

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This summer the Labor Summer Internship Program (LSRIP), a summer program of UCLA’s Labor Studies Minor, conducted research focused on ride-sharing and its effect on LA’s gig economy. Students investigated the work experience ride-sharing drivers face and the impact of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft in Los Angeles. Ultimately, this research intends to raise awareness about the work conditions of drivers in this emerging industry.

In order to understand the drivers’ work experience and to obtain a demographic profile of the drivers in Los Angeles, students completed over 250 face to face surveys with ride-sharing drivers in Los Angeles region. Survey participants were asked about their understanding of their employment status as independent contractors, explored their driving history, and documented their schedule and earnings. Drivers were asked to share their opinion on how the new technology networking companies affect their lives.

While LSRIP concluded at the end of the summer, the research will continue in another course this fall. In this class, students will conduct in-depth interviews with drivers and further analyze the information regarding surveyed drivers. A report with these findings will be released in 2018.