Reinvention and disruption : Austin’s immigrant taxi drivers in the age of Uber

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2018-10-04

Authors

Lundstrom, Kathryn Marie

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Abstract

Desalegn Gemechu and Elsabet Guangul are musicians from Ethiopia who came to the United States for a better life –– and now, Gemechu drives a cab. The taxi industry has long served as an important steppingstone for immigrants like Gemechu trying to rebuild a life in a foreign country. But since Uber and Lyft flooded the market and pushed down industry wages, even the workers’ cooperative –– an attempt by immigrant drivers to save their livelihood through a low-cost, democratically run taxi franchise –– is struggling. As Gemechu and Guangul look to the future, they’re resolute about their decision to come to the U.S., but at a loss for how they’ll cope with an industry that is slipping away

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