“This is the first stage of something more profound, which is the ability of people to structure their lives around doing multiple sharing-economy activities as a choice in lieu of a 9-to-5, five-day-a-week job,” said Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University.
“This is technology-driven progress,” he says. “This is what it’s all about.”
But opposition is rising from neighbors, business rivals and city officials.
Web-based transportation services such as Uber, Lyft and SideCar have drawn howls of protest from taxicab companies decrying what they say is unregulated competition. The sites pair riders with car owners willing to ferry them around in their own vehicles for fees or “donations” lower than those charged by cabs.
Likewise, plumbers and other tradesmen bristle at what they contend are unlicensed rivals undercutting them on TaskRabbit, a help-for-hire site listing people who will happily walk a dog or fix a leaky faucet.
Airbnb is among the most prominent sites to encounter opposition.