When Juno was launched, drivers saw it as the perfect alternative to Uber because of better terms. For instance, drivers now had the choice of becoming full-time employees if they so wanted. The upstart also promised that its drivers would get some equity.
“You get to take more money home and put food on the table with Juno,” the chief executive officer of Juno, Talmon Marco, said in an interview with BuzzFeed News mid last year.
Termination of stock program
Those hopes were recently dashed when the New York City-based startup was purchased by Gett for approximately $200 million. Gett is also a ride-hailing firm whose only American operation is in New York though it maintains a strong presence in parts of Europe, Russia and Israel. Following the acquisition, the stock program that was to benefit drivers has been terminated.
On learning the development one driver complained that after helping the upstart through its initial stages, it had now ditched its promises to them and abandoned them before adding that all the ride hailing services were the same.
According to the new terms, the shares that the drivers have accumulated will be nullified and the drivers will instead get cash bonuses if they enroll with the new merged service. Mid last year, Talmon was on record as saying that Juno’s plan was to go public and the drivers could decide to either offload the shares or hold on to them. Most of the drivers will get three-figure bonuses. This is because the prices of the shares they hold is about 2 cents per unit when what had been pitched to them was 20 cents.
In a crowded market full of taxis and more established rivals such as Lyft and Uber, Juno attracted drivers to enroll to offer their services through it by differentiating itself from the others by positioning itself as being more socially responsible. There were also additional incentives such as bonuses for drivers who referred other drivers to Juno.
An association based in New York City that represents ride-hailing service drivers expressed little surprise at the actions of Juno which had betrayed the drivers who worked hard to take it to the level it has now reached. The association called for protections to drivers in the industry with a view to ensuring that the independent contractors in the ride-hailing service industry are able to earn a living wage given that the ride-hailing companies had proved untrustworthy and socially irresponsible.