Taxi News
FREE Rides to San Diego Continuing Education

FREE Rides to San Diego Continuing Education

It isn’t easy being a college student trying to navigate around San Diego when you don’t have a car, the buses stop running past a certain time, and you’re not within walking distance of a Trolley stop. Just ask San Diego College of Continuing Education student Adriana Dos Santos, who has found herself stuck on campus without a ride on more than one occasion. 

“Too many students, like me, are new to this area and come here by themselves, who are living alone and don’t have transportation,” Dos Santos said. “If something happens, if there is an emergency, they don’t have someone to pick them up.”

For years, rideshare giants like Uber and Lyft have dominated the paid ride market in San Diego and beyond. Their convenient app-based model made it easy for riders to summon a car with a few taps. However, that technology came at a steep cost for drivers.

Rideshare drivers have long complained about the sizable commissions taken by the companies, leaving them with a disproportionately small slice of each fare after expenses. Efforts to classify them as employees rather than independent contractors have largely failed.

But a new collaborative effort between a local taxi union and academics could upend that exploitative model. The United Taxi Workers of San Diego teamed up with Lily Irani, professor at UC San Diego to develop a driver-focused rideshare app called Ride United.

Unlike Uber and Lyft, this nonprofit platform keeps the lion’s share of fares with drivers. They pay a small 4-6% fee that simply covers operating costs. No excessive commissions get siphoned off to enrich shareholders.

Even more empowering – drivers see all the ride details upfront and can choose whether to accept or reject trips. No more getting stuck with money-losing runs.

While still in its infancy since a December launch, Ride United has already racked up over 170 rides and contracts with municipal agencies. Riders appreciate being able to e-hail rides without enabling worker exploitation or surge pricing.

As the homegrown app gains traction, it could catalyze a shift in San Diego’s gig economy landscape. For drivers and socially-conscious passengers, an ethical alternative to Big Tech’s grip on ridesharing may have arrived.


San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE) has a pilot program in partnership with United Taxi Workers of San Diego to provide free cab rides via $100 transportation vouchers for students struggling with basic needs. This is the first partnership of its kind.

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