May 1st, 2015 Uber Drivers stage a Boycott of Uber by not turning on their Driver’s Application . . . While we support this action and hope it drives home the message to Travis and Friends that we, the Drivers have had enough of Uber’s abuse and lack of responsibility towards the Independent Contractors that drive all those Uber Riders around nation-wide.
The primary issues raised by the drivers are:
- Inadequate pay for UberX Drivers. Other levels of drivers are also underpaid for the class in which they serve but UberX is ridiculously low to the extreme that most UberX do not earn a minimum wage. Uber’s claims that Uber Drivers make a fantastic income is simply lies and just one of the few lies Uber tells the media, the public, and the government. In some cities UberX Drivers are working for as little as 0.60 per mile which does not provide any true income to the driver. See the example below:
In this example we look at 4 hours of driving in San Francisco, CA. The driver’s fares for the shift total $79.74 for 11 rides with 60 actual miles driven. The likelihood that were this doubled as an 8 hour shift it would be a perfect shift for an UberX Driver. At $159.48 in fares for an 8 hour shift with 22 rides and 120 actual miles driven makes for a good day with UberX.
But, lets do a little math here. Total fares 159.48 From that 27.50 is paid in commissions to Uber, vehicle costs are $67.20, Safe Rider Fees are $22.00, leaving the driver $42.78 for his days work. Nope, this does not factor the drivers tax obligations to Uncle Sam. From the $42.78 deduct 25% for self employment taxation. Our driver has made $32.08 take home pay for his 8 hour day. I do not know what country anybody else reading this lives in but this is unacceptable earnings in my America. People seem to believe that because the drivers are Independent Contractors that they have nothing to say about such abuse and maybe they wouldn’t had the contracts they are working under been at any stage negotiated, but never has Uber negotiated any contracts with the drivers. The other issue is Uber lies to the new drivers and provides bogus math to the new driver leading the new driver to believe he is actually making a great income. It usually takes about 3 months for Uber’s math to cause serious damage to the drivers finances before the driver realizes he has been lied to. Uber classifies the UberX Driver as an expendable Commodity because they want the UberX Driver to constantly be replaced by new drivers that Uber can easily deceive for the short period that it takes for reality to set in.
Use of a 5-Star Rating System that allows any drunk, drug user, competition driver, or any dick-head having a bad day to cause a driver be fired without the ability to even tell their side of the story.
In the 5 years Uber has been in business, untold amounts of drivers have been subjected to being blocked from usage of the Uber Driver Application because their Driver Rating dropped below 4.6. In a country where 1 = He Sucks, 2 = Pretty much Sucks, 3 = tolerable, 4 = Good, and 5 = Fantastic, Uber comes along and says 5 = Has a Job and 4.6 = Don’t have a Job. Riders that believe they are giving a driver a satisfactory rating when rating a driver a 3, are getting the driver fired without the driver being able to defend himself.
Are the Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors? If the Drivers are Employees they get all the perks a regular employee would get. If Independent Contractors they get nothing but poverty level useless jobs.
This may seem an easy and simple to determine issue, but it is really a complex review of all the past practices of Uber to determine the amount of control Uber has over the drivers in the performance of their duties as drivers. This matter is before the Courts for both Uber and Lyft presently with a decision not expected in the near future unless Uber and Lyft try to settle the cases out of court.
Tipping, the BIGGEST UBER LIE
From the very beginning of Uber, Uber claimed that it was not necessary to tip the Uber Driver as it was already included in the Fares charged to Riders. For a couple years this went unchallenged, then a few drivers got curious, where’s the tip? This issue is also before the Courts and it was even admitted by Uber that they lied to the Riders in this situation as no tippage was ever truly calculated, collected or distributed to anyone. But, Uber has taken it one step further. To prevent drivers from receiving tips from their Riders, Uber has caused recent legislation to prohibit drivers from accepting any cash from Riders, making it against the law for Uber Drivers to receive cash tips. And as long as Uber does not include the ability to tip by the credit card used for payment for the Ride, Uber has blocked drivers from receiving tips indefinitely. Actually, with the use of the Square Card Reader on any Smart Phone this situation is easily worked around.
Uber Fails To Be Responsible for Anything
Uber, Lyft, SideCar and every other App Based Service seems to believe they have no obligation to accept responsibility for anything. It does not matter what the situation, the company is not responsible for a damn thing. Everything from who is obligated to pay all the expense to whom is responsible for criminal acts, are anybody else’s responsibility. Uber also fails to take into consideration the community and local government protections required of all other transportation services as Uber declines participation in any portion of these requirements. A couple of drivers have figured this out but most have yet to see it. So long as the TNC’s do not have to participate in any of the required protections of local government which are license for the company, permit for vehicles, vehicle inspections, driver health & drug tests, Fed Background checks, and Insurance, the UberX level car stays and expendable commodity. But, if you were to impose any of these requirements to these vehicles, the cars become an invested commodity which will likely lessen the amount of drivers that want to drive for the TNC’s
What truly needs to happen is to use the existing license/permit system and require that all TNC vehicles/drivers comply with the same regulations as the other transportation type services, except as the UberX vehicle is a lesser vehicle than your standard Limousine it should have a lesser permit fee and assign the UberX it’s own PUC/TCP authority number. This would allow these vehicles to be classified as “commercial” and they could then obtain actual commercial insurance which would actually protect the community and the drivers. Existing insurance does not provide any protection for the driver, nor his vehicle. Were a real “commercial” policy to be written covering the vehicle, it would protect the public, the driver, and the government as it should be.
TNC Failure to Pay A Reasonable Drivers Rate
The TNC’s started a price war long ago in which they all sought to “race to the bottom” to see who could withstand the lowest fares for the consumer. The problem is, they chose to do so at the expense of the Drivers. That’s right folks, Mr. Travis 40 Billion Kalanick rather than let the company absorb the costs chose to reduce driver rates to reduce Rider fares, and that is what brought us to where we are today. But, Travis did not stop there. Using his brilliant Uber Economics Travis decided that if the rates were lowered there would be twice as many Riders so Drivers would make much more income. In actuality what it meant was the Driver would have to work twice as much and put out twice the expense to earn what they previously were earning. The end result, drivers started going broke. And while the drivers were going broke Uber doubled up on the Safe Rider Fee. Cost to the driver, an additional 47% in expenses. The Rider got great fares, Uber got their 20% without loss, plus doubled up on the Safe Rider Fees and the drivers got slammed with a 47% loss.
There are likely, many other reasons for today’s Boycott Of Uber, but the most offensive of all, is Uber lies. Uber lies about everything. Uber lies to everybody regardless of the topic. And, Drivers are tired of listening to lies. Drivers are fed up with listening to Uber lie to the Government, the public, the community, and to drivers. If there is any one person responsible for the degradation of the quality and performance of Uber, it is Travis Kalanick. He has chosen to disregard his most valuable asset, the Driver. The only income producing faction of any of the TNC’s, are the drivers. Travis Kalanick may have brought the App to Uber, but Uber’s Drivers made it cool, and cool is what made Uber worth the 40 bucks it is worth today.
<p>And this brings us to today’s event. The primary failure today, is failure to unify the numerous Drivers Associations and Groups so that we are all working in concert to make this event a powerful gesture. At this stage of the game each Association should have the leaders of the other Associations on speed dial just to discuss who is doing what to make the event successful. There need be discussion of strategy, utilization of resources, distribution of information, an actual plan of action. We hope this event provides the impact desired and we will support it regardless.