Disrupting the Disruptors: Fare.Coop/Local Driver Co-op Federation Halts Robotaxi Rollout in San Francisco

Driver-led cooperative effectively postpones the launch of Cruise and Waymo’s autonomous vehicles, advocating for drivers’ rights and welfare (source: https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2023-07-13/disrupting-the-disruptors-fare-coop-local-driver-co-op-federation-halts-robotaxi-rollout-in-san-francisco)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Edward Escobar, CEO of Fare.Coop/Local Driver Co-op Federation and the founder of #DriversUnite/The Alliance for Independent Workers, has led a successful protest coalition against the rapid introduction of autonomous vehicles in San Francisco. The Local Driver Co-op Federation, a cooperative championing the rights and welfare of drivers and gig workers in the face of increasing automation, has supported postponement of the deployment of Cruise and Waymo’s round-the-clock Robotaxi services on San Francisco streets. With mounting public pressure, led by Drivers, the state regulator CPUC has rescheduled the hearing twice already which favors the goals of the protest coalition, whose mission is to guard against the potentially devastating impact of automation on millions of drivers’ jobs.

The Federation’s commitment to the cause of drivers, underlines its dedication to preserving drivers’ integral role in shaping the future of transportation. Inspired by VISA’s multi-stakeholder cooperative, which orchestrated the largest IPO in U.S. history in 2008, the Local Driver Co-op Federation consistently champions the rights and welfare of drivers and gig workers. This success reinforces the Federation’s determination to stave off the job-loss risks automation might pose.

“We aim to provide a competitive, fair alternative for consumers saving them 20% per mile compared to the incumbents while paying drivers 90%, preparing for a just and balanced transition to automation. We believe that our driver partners should have ownership in the driverless vehicles that could potentially replace them,” said Mr. Escobar.

This news follows closely on the heels of the Federation’s announcement at Collision in Toronto, where they shared their plan to raise $26M in a Series A funding round. This revelation was a highlight of Collision, further cementing the Federation’s stature as an impactful force in the transportation industry.

Reflecting on the potential ramifications of this technological shift, Ahmed Attia, Co-Chair of the Federation and CEO of Direct Global, said, “We have seen the traumatic repercussions of disruption in the past – taxi medallion holders taking their own lives, losing homes, and destroying families. This emerging wave of disruption poses a threat to tens of millions of gig workers in America. We’re not opposing the technology; rather, we welcome it. However, we demand an equitable chance to present our alternative, with government backing akin to what the incumbents receive, often at voters’ expense. Once we’re able to compete effectively, we are open to driverless vehicles operating around the clock.”

The Local Driver Co-op Federation is committed to ensuring a just and balanced transition to automation. They are devoted to granting drivers a stake in the future of transportation, thereby safeguarding jobs and influencing the industry’s trajectory. As a partner of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Program (UNSDG), the Federation aligns with goals #8, #9, and #11.

To learn more about Fare.Coop and the Local Driver Co-op Federation, visit www.fare.coop and www.localdriver.coop

About Local Driver Co-op Federation
The Local Driver Co-op Federation is an innovative, driver-led cooperative dedicated to preserving the rights and welfare of drivers and gig workers amid rising automation. Inspired by VISA’s multi-stakeholder cooperative, the Federation is committed to ensuring drivers maintain an influential role in the future of transportation.