The Welfare Illusion of Urban Ride-Hailing Drivers

Digital platform-based on-demand mobility services (ride-hailing) have
become integral to people’s lives, especially in urban areas. Since its
emergence in the 2010s, Indonesia’s ride-hailing market has rapidly
expanded, especially food and beverage ordering services, logistics
package couriers, and motorcycle-based on-demand transportation.
Without official data from applicator companies, the number of app-
based ride-hailing drivers is now estimated at 4 million people
throughout Indonesia, with a quarter located in Greater Jakarta. If the
estimates from the ride-hailing association are valid, labor absorption as
ride-hailing drivers is significant, equivalent to 50 percent of the total
number of open unemployed.

However, regardless of the popularity and speed of business growth, the
sharing-economy-based digital business model, originally conceived as
a new economic system, is now increasingly clearly seen as no different
from ruthless capitalists who do not hesitate to practice exploitative
capital-labor relations. The rhetoric of autonomy and independence in
determining the type of work, working time, and the desired amount of
income, popularly known as gig workers, has become empty jargon to
cover up the exploitation of informal workers who are paid cheaply
without giving rights and adequate work protection.