Why the cabdriver is the real victim of the false promises of Uber and the gig economy.
2007 Noteworthy Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics. Princeton University Industrial Relations Section.
Hailed in its first edition as a classic study of New York City's history and people, Graham Russell Gao Hodges's Taxi! is a remarkable evocation of the forgotten history of the taxi driver. This deftly woven narrative captures the spirit of New York City cabdrivers and their hardscrabble struggle to capture a piece of the American dream.
From labor unrest and racial strife to ruthless competition and political machinations, Hodges recounts this history through contemporary news accounts, Hollywood films, and the words of the cabbies themselves. A new preface recalls the author's five years of hacking in New York City in the early 1970s, and a new concluding chapter explores the rise of app-based ridesharing services with the arrival of companies like Uber and Lyft. Sharply criticizing the use of the independent contractor model that is the cornerstone of Uber and the gig economy, Hodges argues that the explosion of for-hire vehicles in Manhattan reversed decades of environmental anti-congestion efforts. He calls for a return to the careful regulations that governed taxicabs for decades and provided a modest yet secure living for cabbies.
Whether or not you've ever hailed a cab on Broadway, Taxi! provides a fascinating perspective on New York's most colorful emissaries.
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