Among the many industries millennials have supposedly slain, taxi service is one of the most iconic. There may be some romance to sticking out your thumb and hailing a cab on a city street, but it's way easier to plan and pay for your trip with a rideshare service on your phone. Convenience may not be the only reason why we love Uber, Lyft, and all the others, though.
Researchers at Ohio State University have just released a study about how consumers see themselves in relation to service providers, namely in peer-to-peer business models like those that have come to dominate the gig economy. When obtaining a service from a traditional provider, like a uniform taxi driver, we tend to see that driver as just an extension of the company. When we believe we're using a platform to connect directly with an independent contractor, like a rideshare driver, we see ourselves as helping an individual directly. That makes us much more willing to pursue peer-to-peer services in the first place.
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While there's nothing wrong with simply completing a transaction for goods and services, it's no wonder that we latch onto opportunities, real or perceived, to lend a hand. That said, the study authors note that rideshare drivers in particular often wind up making less than minimum wage for their efforts. If you're looking to support the little guy directly, choosing to support a small or minority-owned business will help every dollar you spend go far in the real world.