What do Uber drivers do

Over: The end of the taxi


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For Uber drivers, who are officially called rental car drivers, none of this applies - or no longer applies. As of August 24, 2017, rental car drivers no longer have to take a local knowledge test. On this day, a driving license regulation came into force that allows them to drive without the local knowledge test. Unlike taxi drivers, rental car drivers always know where they are going and are not obliged to take the shortest route, explains the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure when asked. Even before August 24, 2017, many rental car companies bypassed the test and set up their headquarters in places with less than 50,000 inhabitants. There is no local knowledge test in smaller towns. That is why you can often recognize Uber cars in Berlin by their license plates from the Brandenburg area.

Rule breaking and self-exploitation

Rental car drivers do not have to put fiscal taximeters in their cars, do not have to mark their car as a rental vehicle and are also not subjected to any unannounced checks. The price is determined by an algorithm that is based on current demand.

But certain rules also apply to Uber drivers. One of them is the obligation to return. A rental car trip should actually work as follows: A customer orders a rental car in advance using an app such as "UberX". The agent - Uber - forwards this order to a rental company, which in turn forwards it to a driver. Depending on the time of the ordered trip, the driver would then drive from his company headquarters to the passenger, pick him up, drop him off and drive back to the company headquarters. This also means: rental car drivers may not be waved over, and may not wait for a passenger in particularly frequented areas.

In fact, Uber cars are constantly mingling at the airport or in front of the clubs in Kreuzberg. You break the rules and exploit yourself to get good business. Some Uber drivers spend the night in their cars or drive 15 hours straight to earn enough. That is not controlled either. The competition between those who have always been there and the new ones is becoming increasingly fierce.

Publishing offer

Abdurrahman A. saved a form on his computer. It says "a violation of the PBefG, Paragraph 49 Paragraph 4". All he has to do is fill in the make of the car, the license plate number, the place and the time - and the report is complete for non-compliance with the obligation to return. "I put these kinds of advertisements in the various districts all the time," he says. It annoys him that the taxi drivers are so tightly controlled and the Uber drivers get away with it. But he hardly got any reactions. "I was hoping that the reports would be collected centrally, but for the authorities these seem to be nothing but isolated cases."

Taxi drivers were heroes

Uber, a US billion dollar company based in San Francisco, has created a market that is barely regulated in Europe either. The company arranges motorists. Uber became the pioneer of the so-called gig economy, a new industry in which workers are usually paid per gig, i.e. per order: per trip, food delivered or cleaned apartment.

People who work in the gig economy often do so as a part-time, second or third job. Often the pay is so bad and the conditions so precarious that none of them can survive on their own. Deliveroo suppliers and Uber drivers are often students, newcomers, and seekers. Some do the job a few hours a day, others five times a month, the least full-time.

The taxi driver is completely different. Even driving a taxi may not have been a dream job for very few people from the start, but many stayed that way for their entire lives and were able to support themselves, even a family, with it. The taxi driver was also surrounded by a myth: In Jim Jarmusch's film Night on Earth taxi drivers are heroes.