The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01578

Submission Number:
Kevin Godwin
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
"I am a Navy Veteran who has been in college since Fall 2009. I have experienced numerous setbacks in my education due to things beyond my control. Firstly, the post 9-11 GI Bill was started in the Fall of 09 and paid a percentage of your education based off of your time in service. I was approved at the 80% level and began my training at Tallahassee Community College. By the time I was finishing my associates degree at TCC the GI Bill has started to make changes to our benefit which included: not paying out of state tuition any longer and no longer receiving break pay. In other words I was paying the remaining portion of my tuition no longer covered out of student loans and grants in addition to a prorated housing allowance for the weeks between semesters. Also switching from post 9-11 GI Bill to Vocational rehabilitation GI Bill my housing allowance had a very dramatic decrease! When I finished my associates degree I transferred to Florida State University to complete my bachelors in Humanities. This wasn't my major of choice due to a combination of poor advising and GI bill restrictions. [REDACTED] Not being able to find steady and suitable work that will accomodate my disabilities is nearly impossible. Here's where Uber came into my life. Being a college student at FSU there are a couple of things you learn very quickly. 1 Our spirit, tradition, and unspoken family bond runs deep in the Seminole Community, as evidence by our unwavering support for each other after the recent shooting at Strozier, our campus library. and 2 We have a philosophy about parking, "There simply is none." With that being said you can't forget the massive number of students that don't even have cars. Those who live on and off campus. As a former Chicagoan, I have learned that the public transit here is inadequate at best. As a testament to taxi service in town I have first hand experience. A request for a taxi that has taken up to an hour to arrive and on a couple of occasions the company that dispatched the taxi completely forgot and never arrived at all! Not to mention cab/taxi company's around the country are pretty much the same. The vehicles are old, they smell, drivers are rude, you're lucky if you get one that has a "working" debit machine. Uber is beyond the shadow of a doubt, a great asset to Tallahassee life. Students have access to Uber drivers that can have them to class in minutes rather than a cab that can take 45 mins to arrive if it arrives at all. Prevents commuters from waiting in the extreme heat in summer and often chilly nights in the winter for a bus that takes far too long to arrive. Uber makes commuting easy and worry free for students. Not to mention those nights students go out for drinks with friends on weekends. Uber provides an on call designated driver to keep people safe and intoxicated drivers off the road. I open the door for most riders, especially women, to make them feel more at ease and welcome. I provide bottled water, gum, and mints for all riders. I also provide riders any assistance needed with mobility due to disabilities. I've helped carry groceries, luggage, walked riders especially women to their doors at night to make sure they are safe or at least wait to make sure they are in their residence safely before departing. Their security and well being is important to me and my commitment to them goes beyond travel from point A to B. Now here's why Uber life for me is important: It's flexible schedule allow me to work around my disabilities at my leisure. [REDACTED] I love meeting new people and chatting for short periods of time. The job is never the same. Each day is different. It can offset the amount of GI Bill that has been changed due to the government decisions to cut GI Bill funding. I need this job. It's the only thing I can be successful and passionate about that provides a supplemental income. Being my own supervisor allows me to work [REDACTED] in a way no other job can offer. I would like to continue to be part of this growing community until [REDACTED] I graduate from college. I am willing to fight whatever battles necessary to remain employed with Uber. This company sets standards for their drivers that no cab, taxi, bus, or train could ever achieve!"