By Don McIntosh
Seventeen months after Uber and Lyft drivers rallied outside Portland City Hall, they turned out in numbers for the first meeting of a new driver-led advisory committee Oct. 10.
The nine-member committee will come up with suggestions for new regulations that Portland City Council could pass in order to improve conditions for drivers and the riding public.
At the first meeting, members elected two labor figures to lead the committee: driver Duane Hanson, a professional actor and former officer of the Portland chapter of SAG-AFTRA, will be chair; and Oregon AFL-CIO organizer Alma Raya will be vice chair.
Hanson has driven for Uber and Lyft three-and-a-half years, and this year published a Kindle book about his experience: Rideshare Confessions: A Humoresque Peek into the Grim Reality of the Gig Economy.
When he started, the companies paid $1.15 per mile; now it’s 70 cents, a cut drivers had no say in.
“People get into this feeling like for the first time they’re the one in the driver’s seat,” Hanson said. “In the short run it seems like you’re doing good, the money’s great and it’s all on you whether you pass or fail. The hangover comes on tax day when a lot of folks realize for the first time what being an independent contractor really means.”