Since Uber launched in Argentina in 2016, taxi drivers have come out in force, torching ride-share cars, beating drivers, and shaming passengers. And they’re still angry.
“What are you doing working for Uber, scumbag?” Marcelo Boeri shouted.
It was April 2019, and Boeri had been driving his taxi down a tree-lined street in the Constitución neighborhood of Buenos Aires when he spotted the white Chevy Aveo. Even though the government had passed laws prohibiting Uber from operating in the city, cars had popped up everywhere, thousands and thousands of them, like un chorro, or diarrhea, he thought, making a mess of everything. He had paid $1,300 for his taxi driver’s license and hundreds of dollars in annual fees — costs that Uber drivers didn’t have. Every time he saw one of their cars, he imagined someone taking food from his family.
He’d been through all this once before. Unlike many of the city’s 38,000 taxi drivers, who usually come from the working class and the poor villas de emergencia on the edge of the city, Boeri was once upper-middle class — a banker at Banco Roberts, which later became HSBC. But then the country’s 2001 economic crash ruined him, like so many other members of the middle class. After he was fired, he became a taxi driver to prevent defaulting on his mortgage, and it took him 15 years to reestablish himself. Now, these Ubers were trying to ruin him all over again. Boeri, in response, helped form Taxistas Unidos, a group of about 1,500 drivers who use a variety of aggressive tactics to prevent Uber from operating. Argentine journalists dubbed them “caza Ubers” — Uber hunters.
Boeri parked his taxi in front of the Chevy, blocking it from moving, a tactic drivers call a “choque,” similar to the maneuver used by police to stop a motorist from fleeing. Capturing the scene on his phone, Boeri approached the car on foot alongside several other taxi drivers.
Jorge Ledesma was taking a break from shuttling Uber passengers around. He had just stirred hot water and maté leaves into his little brown guampa, the calabash gourd Argentines use to mix tea. It was a gray, dreary day, and now, framed in his driver’s side window, like a cop writing a speeding ticket, there was this cab driver in a polo shirt, cellphone in one hand, calling him a scumbag. There were hundreds of videos of fights between taxi and Uber drivers circulating in WhatsApp groups, on Twitter, and sometimes in the news when someone leaked a clip. Ledesma knew that if the camera was out, nothing good was going to happen.
“I’m not working,” Ledesma said, still holding his guampa. He shrugged.
Boeri yanked open his door.
Ledesma threw the guampa at Boeri, pushed him out of the way, and jumped out of the car. He ran to his trunk and pulled out a pipe and a large knife. Ledesma watched as Boeri ran back to his own trunk, where he took out a weapon.
“What are you gonna do with that knife, bitch?” Boeri taunted, coming back toward him. “You want to see who the real man is? Let’s find out!”
That’s where the video goes shaky. There’s blurry asphalt, then sky, then asphalt again, and the sound of groaning and shouting. Off camera, Ledesma allegedly stabbed one of the drivers.
Since Uber arrived in Argentina in 2016, there have been more than 1,041 such fights — that have been reported to police, anyway. While the level of violence is extraordinary, the tensions are familiar. When Uber was created in 2009, the company’s leaders earned a reputation for entering markets chaotically, fighting against transportation authorities and taxi drivers unions, and ignoring laws. The messiness of Uber’s playbook, in turn, has given Uber hunters their greatest weapon: the argument that, by attempting to stop Uber drivers from operating, they are simply trying to enforce the law, not break it.
“We don’t condone or justify violence,” Boeri told me. “But when you’re powerless, and Uber keeps ignoring the law, and no one does anything, and you can’t feed your family, they push you into a corner where violence is one of the only responses you have available.”
In Buenos Aires, politics often play out in the streets. In 1946, Eva Perón created the country’s first national taxi drivers union, a force of thousands of drivers who would flank the city’s streets during her speeches. It was her allies in the municipal government who, for the first time, color coordinated all the city’s cabs to be yellow and black, like industrious bumble bees. So intertwined is the legacy that Evita’s grave in the Recoleta Cemetery bears only two plaques, one donated in her honor by workers from the General Confederation of Labor, the other given by the Taxi Drivers Union, with the now-famous phrase, “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.”
When a dictatorship toppled the country’s civilian government in 1976, secret agents kidnapped dissidents off the streets so frequently that the green Ford Falcon, the car used to disappear the government’s enemies, came to represent terror. When Boeri was 3 years old, his father was taken by the junta, tortured, and executed. Boeri’s first memory is attending a protest with his mother a year later, in the Plaza de Mayo, where families of victims still hold vigils and demand information about their vanished loved ones. “I’ve never lost my rage over my father’s murder,” Boeri said.
The years since have heralded disaster for the Argentine economy. A decade of inflation in the 1990s culminated in the 2001 crash in which the peso was so devalued that life savings became worthless overnight. Some citizens wallpapered their homes with the currency. A series of inflation crises continued to hit throughout the 2000s, and today, many can’t afford basic staples. Given their history as the favorite sons of Evita, taxi drivers play an outsize symbolic role in the city’s politics — zipping around in their black-and-yellow cars, ever-present ambassadors of the working class’s long-dead golden years.
The first time many Argentine taxi drivers ever heard of Uber was on March 28, 2016, when the company held a driver sign-up event at the four-star Hotel Castelar, near the Plaza de Mayo. The company wasn’t yet legal or operational in Argentina — it hadn’t registered as a business in the country, which, according to University of Buenos Aires sociologist Maxo Velázquez, is the way Uber typically enters markets in developing countries, where governments are less equipped to stop it. This had been the company’s strategy for years elsewhere: Spend insane amounts of cash, create consumer demand, and then use that demand to pressure regulators to legalize the company. “Uber’s genius is to exploit any ambiguities in the law, either as it’s written or as it’s enforced, and to use that to gain competitive advantage,” said Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts, a history of how Uber and other Silicon Valley companies are changing the world.
After attempts to expand into China had failed because it was unable to outmaneuver the country’s strict regulators, Uber identified Latin America as its next big market. The company knew that an economic crisis could create a huge labor pool, causing wages to go down as workers fought for jobs. “It’s not that they targeted these weak economies because they’re weak,” said Velázquez. “It’s that they quickly learned how best to take full advantage of them.”
Crowds of mostly middle-aged men, many of them former cab or bus drivers, showed up at Hotel Castelar that March, enticed by the possibility of finding work. Earning a living as a cab driver had become harder — unemployment had reached 9.3 percent, and many could no longer afford taxi rides. Uber tended to be cheaper, its prices the result of lower overhead costs and subsidies from venture-capital backers.
“I signed up because I am looking for an activity that allows me to have an income,” 60-year-old Osvaldo Pisano told a reporter before security guards ushered him inside to avoid stone-throwing cabbies. Inside the hotel, prospective Uber drivers got a crash course in the sharing economy. Seated in a conference room closed to cameras, the men watched a PowerPoint presentation on the company. To become a driver, they were told, all they had to do was register on Uber’s website and upload a license and a waiver of insurance. At that point, the ride-sharing giant would not provide any insurance to passengers or riders in Argentina, though it had offered this protection in some developed countries. “The experience is similar to a friend taking you in his car,” a presenter said. By the end of the day, 7,000 drivers had signed up.
In a citywide email sent out on April 22, 2016, Uber announced that the service was open for business, and the 7,000 drivers’ apps were activated. Twelve hours later, a Buenos Aires judge ruled the company was in violation of local laws and ordered the app to be blocked immediately. Uber ignored the ruling and continued its operations. Three days later, city inspectors and police raided the office of Uber’s attorney, Michael Rattagan, armed with search warrants and an order to shut down the company. Rattagan was baffled. He claimed he hadn’t heard from or worked with Uber in three years, since the company signed him on retainer. The then head of Latin American operations, David González, had hired two other lawyers in Argentina who had been secretly planning Uber’s entrance into the market — training managers and tech support, preparing to battle with transportation authorities — and Rattagan had been kept in the dark.
But Rattagan’s name was still on all the company’s legal documents in Argentina; his address was listed as the only public address for Uber. That’s how taxi drivers found his office and blockaded it the day Uber launched, and how police found him three days later. Rattagan would soon be charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated tax evasion, which included a prison sentence of up to nine years. Uber “knowingly left Mr. Rattagan … as the sacrificial lamb,” his lawyers argued, “for the scorn of the public and the criminal investigations of the Argentina authorities.”
Uber’s spokesperson in Buenos Aires, Juan Labaqui, attributes much of the chaos of Uber’s launch to the company’s early culture. “Was the entrance [into the Buenos Aires market] easy?” said Labaqui. “No. It was representative of Uber 1.0.”
Mayor Rodríguez Larreta signed a law in May of that year that said any Uber driver found working for the company could be fined $130 and his car impounded for as many as five days. “As long as they do not fall in line with the law, we see the obligation to increase sanctions,” vice president of the legislature, Francisco Quintana, told a reporter. “We are open to talks as long as there is will to operate within the law. Other companies have already understood that this is the way.” Quintana was referring to ride-share companies in Argentina like Cabify, which had been willing to comply and was in turn eventually legalized.
But Uber had pioneered a host of methods to dodge regulations. One of the most notorious, according to Mike Isaac, author of Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, was a program that Uber engineers introduced in the Portland, Oregon, market called “Greyball” — a piece of code they secretly inserted into drivers’ apps that tracked and identified police and hid Uber drivers from them. If a cop tried to hail a ride, nobody would show up. In Indonesia and other countries, they used more old-fashioned methods: bribing police. In San Francisco, the company’s managers coached drivers on how to avoid detection, including removing phones from dashboards and having passengers sit up front. A manager in Florida wrote to drivers: “Remember, if you receive a ticket while picking up or dropping off Uber riders at the airport, Uber will reimburse your costs for the ticket and provide any necessary legal support…. Thank you and have a wonderful day!”
In Buenos Aires, several Uber drivers told me that the company’s lawyers have provided legal counsel to any drivers who were fined or had their car impounded, showing up in court on their behalf. It was cheaper to pay drivers’ fees than to enter a market legally. “We’re in a political campaign,” former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick boasted at a 2014 tech conference, “and the candidate is Uber, and the opponent is an asshole named Taxi.”
When Boeri first heard the rumors that Uber was coming to town, he and other drivers formed a WhatsApp group to vent and coordinate protests. The day of Uber’s launch, the men gathered at the city’s famed Obelisk, a 221-foot-tall statue at the center of the world’s widest street, the 16-lane July 9 Avenue. Hundreds of taxi drivers had shown up at the Obelisk, and Taxistas Unidos was born.
Boeri was joined by another driver and friend, Marcelo Marchi, who would emerge as a sort of second in command. He’d come from a working-class family and had driven cabs since he was 23, building a life for his wife and children, even managing to send his daughter to private school. The two men are an odd couple — Boeri, with graying hair and beard, looks like the ex-banker that he is, while Marchi has a shaved head and taut muscles. Marchi’s father had also been kidnapped by the dictatorship, though he was eventually released. “I’m a pretty cool-headed person in a crisis,” said Marchi. “But when I do lose my temper, I’m inconsolable.”
At the root of their anger was that Uber seemed to be skirting the rules that cab drivers had been forced to play by for years. Taxi drivers paid for commercial driver’s licenses and yearly training and were required to follow guidelines about the upkeep of their cars, totaling hundreds of dollars per month, which sometimes ate up as much as a quarter of their earnings. “How could you compete with drivers who didn’t have these costs?” Marchi wondered. There’s no medallion system in Argentina, like in New York, but when Marchi heard of a deeply indebted cab driver in Manhattan committing suicide, it resonated. “It’s a David versus Goliath story, except Goliath is bigger, and we’re much smaller than David…. We had no idea how to go about trying to stop them — we were trying to figure it out.”
Taxistas Unidos wasn’t a union, and there were no dues. There were five leaders, including Boeri and Marchi, but there were no designated roles or titles except for Boeri, who was the official spokesperson. Taxistas Unidos would meet about once a month but mostly communicated via a host of WhatsApp groups or at service stations where they hung out between shifts.
Their goal was to help — or pressure, if need be — authorities to enforce the law, and to do this, they needed to be able to identify Uber drivers. In their various WhatsApp groups, the taxi drivers began tracking every Uber license plate they saw, spotting the app open in a cup holder or a customer waiting on a sidewalk, looking back and forth between his phone and a car before getting in. The taxi drivers compiled all of these plate numbers in one spreadsheet. Soon, they’d recorded 5,000 numbers, then 7,000, 10,000, 15,000… When the spreadsheet became inefficient, Marchi transferred the numbers to the app Telegram; it took him and two other drivers three days and nights. Now, Taxistas Unidos had an open database of all suspected or confirmed Uber license plates to which any app user could contribute.
Sometimes a Taxistas Unidos member would call an Uber and take it directly to the police station. Or they’d form a posse and trap a car in a choque and then call the police. Marchi recalled car chases involving 15 taxis and one Uber. “It was exciting,” he said.
When another inflation crisis hit the country in 2018, the worst since 2001, tensions between Uber and taxi drivers exploded. “My wages were cut in half,” said Claudia Tripi, a taxi driver. Suddenly, Argentina became Uber’s fastest growth market in the world. Twenty percent of its drivers in Buenos Aires were jobless before joining. The economic downturn “has certainly helped many people find us as an alternative source of income,” Felipe Fernandez Aramburu, who runs Uber business development in Argentina, told Reuters. At the same time, Uber’s growth resulted in a 40 percent decrease in rides for taxi drivers, claimed Omar Viviani, secretary general of the Union of Taxi Renters. It made Uber drivers the perfect scapegoats for the larger crisis. “What do you do to a rat that steals your bread?” one Taxistas Unidos member asked me. “You squash it.”
Martin Senson, also a Taxistas Unidos member, used Telegram to identify a ride-share driver, cut him off, get out of the car, and then pummel the man in the face with brass knuckles after yelling, “We already know who you are, and we know your car…. We are going to kill you.” At least eight Uber cars were set on fire that year, and dozens more were vandalized. Between January and September 2018, Uber drivers filed 250 complaints against taxi drivers. Uber representatives claim that number is closer to 750. One taxi driver reportedly accosted a woman who he mistakenly thought was waiting for an Uber. She filmed the incident, and the man lost his license. Another ride-share driver had his windshield shot out with an air rifle.
While Boeri condemned the violence publicly (“We don’t hunt Ubers,” Boeri said. “We do interventions. We don’t break the laws”), he seemed to tolerate, even encourage, it privately. In a voice message sent out to other Taxistas Unidos members after Senson lost his license, he said, “If they mess with a driver, they mess with all of us. These sons of bitches are going to force us to do whatever is necessary to make trouble.”
It was during this surge in violence that the laws were beginning to shift in Uber’s favor. The federal courts had essentially cleared Uber of any criminal wrongdoing and said that disputes had to be decided by each city. In August 2018, the city of Mendoza passed a law making the ride-sharing service legal, and in September, the province of Jujuy did the same — huge victories for the company. But two months later, the Buenos Aires City Council increased fines for Uber drivers to $5,000 and said a car could be impounded for up to 30 days, rather than five. The city also banned the use of local credit cards in Ubers, forcing passengers to use international cards or pay in cash. Politicians were divided over the issue, the company kept growing, and according to Velázquez, the sociologist, only a few Ubers were punished. The result was a constantly shifting understanding of both the law and the status of the company. “The situation today is such that Uber is a little legal and a little illegal,” said Velázquez.
One night in December, I rode around the neighborhood of Palermo with Marchi, who scanned the streets for Ubers, white earbuds dangling from his ears. The interior of his taxi was immaculate, with a “No Smoking” sign laminated on the back seat and a green hand towel on the dashboard to wipe sweat off his head.
In front of the Polo Club — a palatial garden surrounded by whitewashed adobe walls that hosts concerts as well as equestrian sporting events — five or six taxi drivers had gathered around an Uber. Two transit police cars had pulled up alongside them, their lights throwing neon-blue across the club, where a crowd was filtering out of the front gate. The Uber driver leaned against his black Chevy Prisma and sucked nervously on a cigarette.
Marchi and the other drivers, including an internet-famous Uber hunter known as “Taximan,” swarmed around the police car, making sure the cops did their jobs. The policeman inspected the Uber driver’s papers and then called the office of the district attorney. Afterward, the cop faced the crowd of cabbies. He said the DA didn’t want to prosecute the case and didn’t explain why. The policeman walked over to the Chevy and handed the Uber driver his registration papers back, with no fine. The driver stomped out his cigarette, got back into his car, and sped off.
Marchi recalls months when the transit police would impound an Uber three or four times — but then the car would pop right back up on Telegram, still in operation. “It’s like putting a fire out with a bottle of water,” Marchi said. Meanwhile, transit police would be seen openly hailing Ubers in uniform. As one Uber driver told me, he once received a ride request, showed up at the corner, and saw transit police. He called the customer and said, “Hey, meet me somewhere else. There’s a transit cop on your corner.”
“That’s me!” the passenger said. “I’m a transit cop.”
“I don’t believe you,” the driver said.
“Seriously, it’s me. Come here.”
Five Uber hunters gathered in a brothel in January 2018 to form a plan to set Edilweis Chávez’s* white Chevy Classic on fire. Other cabbies had gotten into a fight with Chávez a few weeks earlier, and in retaliation, the taxi drivers’ friends tracked down his car. The small gang had burned two Ubers before, and their favorite targets were Venezuelan drivers, who’ve flocked to Argentina fleeing their own country’s economic crisis.
The men left the brothel around 3 a.m., walked a few blocks with a jerrycan of petrol, doused the Chevy, and then lit a match. “You can’t let an invasion of foreigners like Uber just do whatever they want,” one of the arsonists told journalist Lula González at the time. “They mess with us, and you can’t mess with someone who is willing to die in this fight.” They weren’t Taxistas Unidos members, but they proudly called themselves Uber hunters.
When Chávez discovered the charred remains of his car the next morning, he was horrified. He had bought the car with a loan, and he didn’t even know if he had insurance. He’d come from a city near Caracas just a few months earlier. What would he do? Neither insurance nor Uber covers the cost of vandalism.
A large part of Uber’s workforce in Argentina is comprised of Venezuelan immigrants. As many as 600 Venezuelans began arriving in Argentina weekly between 2014 and 2016. Thousands of them stayed in the country and found jobs, many as Uber drivers. At times, battles between taxi drivers and Venezuelan Uber drivers have taken on xenophobic overtones — like when, in May 2019, a brawl between nearly 40 cab drivers and Venezuelan ride-share drivers erupted in the middle of downtown, near the Obelisk. To the hundreds of pedestrians who witnessed it, the fight looked like ethnic gangland warfare as the two groups beat each other with clubs and motorcycle helmets. “I experience a lot of racism from taxi drivers,” one Uber driver told González. When I met him, Marchi referred to Venezuelan “monkey eaters” before taking it back, saying the conflict didn’t target people because of their nationality, adding, “I’m a socialist, and I don’t believe in borders.”
One Venezuelan Uber driver named Eiver came to Buenos Aires from Maracay, outside Caracas, and had been driving for Uber for less than a year. He’d been working in a factory as a machinist, but when his boss refused to pay him overtime, he started looking for another job. He lined up interviews at two other factories, but they were scheduled back to back, on opposite sides of town. He took a taxi, which cost close to 600 pesos, or around $20. While complaining to friends later about the high fare, he learned about Uber and how much money it could’ve saved him. Impressed, he ended up getting a loan on a cheap car and signing up to drive.
When Eiver started in March 2019, Uber didn’t charge him commission because it was trying to attract new drivers, but a few months later, it started charging about 40 percent. Because local credit cards are prohibited on the app, he says 80 to 90 percent of his transactions were in cash, so there was no direct way to pay the company. After eight months of driving, Eiver owed Uber almost 50,000 pesos, about $830, almost two months of the average worker’s salary.
Taxi drivers would scream at Eiver, taking photos of his license plate, and it spooked him. Colleagues began to carry guns and other weapons, and they sometimes fought back. Some had even posted photos of Marchi’s 12-year-old daughter online.
Another Uber driver named Marcos Carlavera, who was from a small town near Buenos Aires, had worked in a metallurgical factory for 14 years, but when the 2018 crisis struck, his salary was no longer enough. He and his wife, who had been a stay-at-home mother, both needed to work, and Uber’s flexibility and higher pay appealed to them.
Almost immediately, taxi drivers started harassing Carlavera. One day, four women from the provincial city of Rosario got off the bus and called an Uber. Carlavera picked them up. A taxi pulled up in front of him and one behind him. They threatened to call transit police. “Call them!” he said. “You’re kidnapping me! You’re not letting me leave!” He’d rather deal with the police than angry taxi drivers. Then four other taxi drivers arrived. The women from Rosario became frightened, canceled the ride, and left. “To arrive in Buenos Aires and begin a vacation like that? Not a pretty sight,” Carlavera said.
In the end, the police came and no charges were pressed, but Carlavera was shaken and annoyed, and he lost a half-day of work. “I’m not begging in the street. I’m not robbing anybody. I’m not taking advantage of anybody,” he said. “I’m a worker.”
During one of my last nights in Argentina, I got a WhatsApp message from a taxi driver I’d never met. It read: “Want to go Uber hunting?”
A black-and-yellow car pulled up at quarter past midnight. All the official taxis in Buenos Aires list the driver’s name and license number; this one read “Marianna Elizabeth Ramos.” But the driver wasn’t a woman — he had thick arms and a baby face, with a straight Roman nose and jet-black hair. He introduced himself as Lucas.
“What are we going to do tonight?” I asked.
“We’re not going dancing,” he said.
We passed the Obelisk and Humberto Primo Street, sites of previous brawls. He’d been in two fights himself, though he didn’t elaborate. He didn’t condone violence, he said, but he would later offer to sell me videos he and others share on WhatsApp, like trophies, of fights they’d been in.
As we drove through Buenos Aires, the effects of recession were visible everywhere — scavengers hauling shopping carts full of cardboard, entire families sprawled on filthy mattresses on sidewalks, corrugated-metal shantytowns beneath bridges. There were also the occasional mansions, dance clubs, and cafés, where well-dressed couples drank Fernet at sidewalk tables.
Lucas, whose full name is Luciano Méndez, had worked two jobs but lost one, as a driver for a bus company, when the economic crisis hit. I asked if he thought he was unfairly blaming Uber drivers, who were struggling workers just like him, but he swatted away the question. “They are working super illegally,” he said. “They are my enemies.”
After paying for gas and car maintenance and his taxes and fees, he was left with roughly 2,500 pesos a week, about $41, to feed his wife, himself, and three children. “There are days I work 18, 19 hours per day…. I can’t even pay the electricity bill, you understand me?”
As we drove through Palermo, along Paseo de la Infanta, he pointed out scores of Ubers, apps on the dashboard, passengers in the back. By 1:15 a.m., we had seen six confirmed Ubers. At one point, he radioed a friend for backup, but before he arrived, the Uber got away.
At Cross Bar, a dance club, there was a taxi lane along the sidewalk with an Uber idling in it. Lucas parked beside the car and stepped out. It was the first time I’d seen him standing, and he was big — 6 feet or so. He walked up to the Uber driver’s window. “Get the fuck out of here!” he hissed, sweeping his hand under his chin — the gesture for “fuck you.”
The Uber raced off, leaving behind the two men who’d requested it standing on the sidewalk, their dumbstruck faces lit up by their iPhones.
“Get in,” he said, gesturing to his taxi.
“Is this gonna end badly?” one of the young men said, putting his phone in his pocket. A kidnapping was off-script even for an Uber hunter.
“Just get in,” Lucas said.
What followed was a 30-minute ride in which Lucas took the two men home for free in exchange for interrogating them about why they used Uber. “In reality, I never use Uber,” said one of the passengers, Marcos. Everyone laughed at the obvious lie. The conversation quickly transformed, perhaps because the passengers were a little drunk, into one about Argentina’s past and future and its victimhood by Yankee imperialists. The young men were rich — Juan worked in tech and had become accustomed to using Uber while in Europe, and Marcos had more or less the same story. Belgrano, where Lucas was taking them, was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city.
Surprisingly, all three agreed on the Uber question — they thought a law should be passed to treat ride-share drivers the same as taxi drivers, and the state should punish the company if it didn’t comply. They also agreed that when Uber offered a comparatively cheap and reliable service, it was hard, as consumers in a country with such economic problems, to refuse a good deal. “I feel half-guilty exploiting workers,” Juan said.
No one ventured any solutions to the macro problem underlying it all — that years of inflation and debt had ravaged the economy, and when purchasing power and wealth were diminishing, there were only so many scraps to go around. Maybe there weren’t solutions, not ones anyone in the car believed in.
Yet, even while they agreed on the big picture, Juan, the drunker and bolder of the passengers, insisted violence between workers was wrong, tantamount to fratricide.
“We cannot kill each other!” he shouted, as we pulled up to his mansion-lined street, ivy veined across the buildings’ facades. “The problem is the state, the problem is Uber, and not the Uber driver who is exploited, too!”
Lucas left the men with a heartfelt goodbye and started back toward downtown. It was 4 a.m. He had eight more hours to work. He drove me silently to my apartment on the other side of the city, past the cafés, past the cardboard collectors, past the street kids scrambling through dumpsters. When, near the Obelisk, we pulled up alongside what was obviously an Uber, Lucas kept driving.