Feb 25, 2020 — (Los Angeles, California) Local Driver Co-op is excited to announce the appointment of Torsten Kunert as CEO of the global federation that will seed and deploy locally-owned driver cooperatives in each city.
Local Driver Co-op (www.LocalDriver.Coop) is a cooperative that has been established to address the massive disruptions that have been brought on by the rideshare industry. Founded by Direct Global / Direct Co-ops, the platform has been developed with the goal of bringing all rideshare, taxi drivers, medallion holders and fleet operators together in a fair and equitable manner.
In New York City alone, medallions valued at $1.2 million USD in 2014 are today valued at less than $150,000. Taxi driver representatives relate a doleful tale of bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, heart attacks and suicides, in a profession that was once a stepping stone to the middle class.
In 2013, when there were 47,000 for-hire vehicles in New York, drivers could recoup their investment and make a living. Now, there are more than 100,000 for-hire vehicles, of which 2/3 are Uber drivers, according to the TLC. With the massive disruption brought on by the rideshare companies, which allowed hundreds of thousands of drivers to join, today those rideshare drivers are getting logged out due to the limited demand during certain hours of the day and end up having to work over 16 hours a day, just to make ends meet.
On January 1, 2020, California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which gives basic employee rights to drivers came into effect after Uber, Lyft and DoorDash waged a $90 million legal battle to prevent its passage. This demonstrates a further disconnect between the companies and the needs of the drivers and their true focus on corporate gains.
Drivers to Get 90% of the Revenue and Ownership
Through the Local Driver Co-op, drivers will receive 90% of the revenue and ownership in the platform, which will allow consumers to save 20% (versus the incumbents) while still paying the drivers more than what they currently make. In addition, the platform enables and encourages communication between the members and the group leaders, allowing them to vote on the issues that matter the most to the drivers, ensuring that the drivers’ voices will always be heard. In the future, the co-op through its equity structure will be able to finance driverless vehicles on behalf of its members, further securing the future of the drivers in the age of automation.
The Rideshare Professor
Torsten Kunert is a rideshare pioneer and experienced driver for Uber and Lyft. After years of driving in various Uber and Lyft categories, Torsten wanted to share what he had learned and in April 2016 created his YouTube channel under the name “Rideshare Professor”. Through the channel, Torsten has helped over a million drivers with tips and advice, as well as reporting on issues of concern to drivers. Torsten also operates the Rideshare Driving School where he provides new rideshare drivers with training, motivation and money making tips.
Torsten is one of the pillars and advocates of the transportation, rideshare and livery community. “We are delighted to welcome someone that has helped so many drivers with his leadership and experience to lead the Local Driver Co-op” said Ahmed Attia, President CEO of Direct Global / Direct Co-ops.
“It’s amazing how these multi-billion dollar corporations ignored the needs of their most precious resource – the drivers. Through Local Driver Co-op, we all finally not just have a chance at a truly equitable future, but we also get our dignity back.” Said Torsten Kunert.
An official announcement was made at the Uber & Lyft Rideshare and Gig Economy Event in Long Beach, CA on Sunday, February 23rd, attended by the top rideshare YouTubers, community leaders and activists. The event was also attended by Holmes H. Stoner, chairman of the Direct Global / Direct Co-ops advisory board and of the US Pacific Rim Chamber of Commerce.