The Uber-transformation of India

Drivers in India are going from domestic help to entrepreneurs with 5x more income.

My best friend from India is visiting and what he told me just blew my mind. The drivers who used to drive him around in his personal cars are now leaving what was considered a good job in New Delhi paying about $200 per month to become Uber (& Ola as pictured above) entrepreneurs. The money is apparently much better — often 3 to 5 times more which may not sound a whole lot to a western person but for an Indian can be life changing. I call it an uber-transformation.

Abused and Bored

The personal chauffeur has the status of domestic help. Often abused verbally, made to sit long hours in cars with air conditioning turned off at 100 degrees and higher temperatures, the life of a personal chauffeur is hard. On top of that, the 1% who hire them can be often abusive (although many are very generous and kind). The job gets boring too — listening to the same husband and wife arguments for years can be downright annoying. You spend hours waiting followed by listening to the same people arguing with each other while ignoring you.

Freedom at no cost

Uber and Ola now offer these drivers an unprecedented opportunity — to be free, decide their own hours and become owner-entrepreneurs. These ride sharing services often generous support to help them get cars and car loans — which is hugely challenging in India for the strata of society that’s relatively low income as banks typically only lend to well heeled upper classes.

There are a million things Uber and Ola can do better — from working better with host cities, to treating the drivers more as entrepreneurs and not gig workers as often alleged.

But if I am one of the million domestic help drivers in India, my golden ticket in life has only one name on it — driver entrepreneurship!

CEO, Skyflow Privacy Vault, an API company.

CEO, Skyflow Privacy Vault, an API company.