Travis, I Want You To Know . . .

Travis Kalanick, I want you to know that it is not acceptable that you reap billions off this gig, and I go home penniless. Seriously, not acceptable!

When the autonomous cars get here, it is your intent that we just grab our dirty “T-shirt” and hit the road. Uber moves on to the future, and the drivers that got you there get to join the Unemployment Line. We won’t be able to collect any unemployment benefits because we are Independent Contractors. And, as most of us have not been paid a decent rate since September of 2014, most of us won’t have a little nest-egg built up to see us through. Even if we can find another job quick, it will probably be another “Sharing/Gig Economy” job that won’t support a family or do anything to provide the future American Worker with a real job or career. Nope, this just isn’t acceptable at all.

You know, over the past two years I have watched you turn good jobs that were adequate to support the American Worker and his/her family, into jobs that pay the worker poverty level incomes with no benefit or protections. With all the business that have followed in your path, that’s a lot of jobs taken from the American Workers. I know, I can hear you saying it right now, “Look at all the jobs Uber has created. There are close to half a million drivers working Nation-Wide?” Sorry, you are mistaken. If Uber created jobs, people would get paid to work. Instead of jobs, it appears you have created a new job classification, the “Transportation Hobbyist,” you call it UberX. As “Hobbyist” we do not expect to be paid for our labor. As a matter of fact, as “Hobbyist” we would even find it acceptable to have to pay to play the game for you. 

Uber claims to be a “Technology Company,” of course it isn’t. Technology companies pay both their employees and their contractors well. If you look at the history of the Taxi Industry, you would have to reach the conclusion that Uber is a “Taxi Service.” Seriously, everything the Taxi Industry has done to their drivers in the past, seems to be Uber’s present day. Is it possible that one of these Government Officials “grows a pair,” or one of the Court Cases brings about this reality and the next day Uber be fully regulated by the CPUC, just like the Taxis and limousines? Face it, the only difference between Uber and a Cab Company is instead of hearing voices over the phone, that old modem sound is passing through that phone line. But then again, Taxi Drivers get paid . . . UberX drivers don’t.

Mr. Kalanick, In case nobody else has told you yet, this is really not acceptable.



4 thoughts on “Travis, I Want You To Know . . .

  1. Doggone McDonald’s reaps billions off their gig, and I go home penniless.
    Verizon reaps billions off their gig, and I go home penniless.
    Seriously, not acceptable!
    (no, not seriously But I could go on..)

    What a whiny crybaby article! If you’re not making the money you want, go do something different. Yes, the pay phone business used to be thriving. It was very easy to make money. It was amazing! Times change. It’s time to move on.
    Learn a trade, including technology, since the article states that that industry pays so well. Everything is freely available to learn online.

    Why would one criticize someone for not giving them a handout?
    Let’s say one starts a pizza business. Your supplier raises their rates, which cuts into your profits. You have many options, some of which are: 1) suck it up (or better said, work smarter), 2) go to another supplier, 3) go out of business (also change businesses). Another option, which this article does, is complain about the supplier’s CEO stating that the price change is unacceptable. The supplier is still hugely successful, as this article describes. Why would they change?

    Some drivers have switched product type. Besides relying on uberX, they’ve upgraded to uberXL or uberSelect. Depending on the market, some of these may not be available, or others may be.
    Some drivers have switched companies. Lyft, if available, is amazing with their Power Drive Bonus (Hey! I just got a 20% raise!). There’s also Postmates, GrubHub, Amazon and more.

    Evolve and improve. Don’t devolve and deteriorate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Walt, You make it sound as though we will still have a job moving forward into the future, but we won’t. As soon as Kalanick rolls out his autonomous cars to replace us, we get kicked to the curb. So the people you see driving for the TNC’s that have invested their money, their time, and willingness to do this job knowing that the robots are coming are how the Company is going to get there.

      So every day I drive, every minute I spend doing Uber or the other TNC’s is my helping them succeed in replacing me with their dreams for the future. This isn’t McD’s or Costco where I would still have a job tomorrow. This is Uber where I am not driving their car or making me money. I am making them money driving my car so they can replace me. All of us know it is only a matter of time before it’s all over and we are left with nada but a worn out car and an empty wallet.

      You would think Uber would be more appreciative of the drivers that are willing to ride this thing through and pay the drivers so at the end we would have the ability to move on to the next stage of their lives. But Kalanick has his own ideas of how to be appreciative of those doing the job. He wants to pay us so poorly that we cannot save a little to live on when the time comes. What Kalankick fails to realize is since we are Independent Contractors we will not be able to collect unemployment and since he isn’t paying us enough to save a bit . . . where do we turn when he gives us ther boot? And he better hope no Political figures see this coming.

      What will happen to the City of San Francisco when 37,500 unemployed try to draw welfare benefits? Do you think the Taxpayer really wants to pay for Uber to play their game. THERE IS NOT A CITY IN THE US THAT CAN AFFORD THE ADDITIONAL WELFARE COSTS. RIGHT NOW, I’LL BET YOU THAT CLOSE TO 50% OF UBER DRIVERS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE! And we are working for the highest valued corporation in America.

      Did you hear what I said? We work for the highest valued corporation in the US and qualify to collect food stamps! Don’t you see the wrong in this picture? It’s not about evolve and improve, no matter what you or I do the job is gone soon and Travis won’t have to pay his robot as much as me . . . Then he c an cut the fucking rates. I could give a damn if his robot doesn’t get enough to pay the rent or put food on the table. Under these circumstances do you think it fair Kalanick takes home billions and we get squat? If you do, go be one of Kalanick’s yes men. Lie to the world about how well we are treated and how well we are paid. Tell me how maybe this job isn’t suited for me and maybe I should move along.

      Or maybe you could tell Kalanick the truth. Drivers made Uber what it is today, and drivers will be what carries this company to the autonomous car. Treat us with respect and pay us right because what you are doing right now, is unacceptable and you have an opportunity to fix it.


      • Rich, you are confusing issues.
        Yes, driverless cars are coming. Yes, drivers complaining about their earnings would then be an irrelevant point. As it stands right now, this is what drivers earn. The cost per mile, per minute will go down further. That’s almost a guarantee. Anyone who is in this business, or who gets into this business needs to know that. They SHOULD know that.

        “You would think Uber would be more appreciative”, but they’re not, and have no obligation to do so. They do have an obligation to their customers, our passengers, to provide low rates and excellent service. As long as they’re doing that, they’re good. “Political figures see this coming”? They’re well aware of Uber and the product it brings to their constituents. The constituents, aka our passengers, love it! They have no complaints.

        San Francisco, and other cities who have had Uber as long as it, definitely has a valid concern. If I were an Uber driver there, and didn’t have a second job, I’d definitely be training for one now. Preferably mechanic, or some other profession dealing with these driverless cars. Yes, the end of drivers is coming, and drivers need to prepare: learn a trade. The Federal Government has tons of programs available for Financial Aid, not the least of which is student loans, which by your own words, Uber drivers with their poor earnings, would definitely qualify for.

        “do you think it fair Kalanick takes home billions and we get squat?” [sic] Um, yeah? He helped create a new technology, a new business, that many people have profited off of, and more importantly, millions have benefited from in the form of economical, decent, almost luxurious, transportation. People don’t ever have to rely on dirty, rude, long-hauling taxis. It’s the same way that Bill Gates made billions of dollars creating his software company. Or Sam Walton. Or Reed Hastings. and so many others. You go create something and pay your employees, partners, etc. whatever you want, but all the other creators are not responsible for doing the same.

        However, I see a change coming whenever Uber goes public. I believe Uber is operating at a huge loss right now. There is no telling how much money they are “making”. In fact, there are several news stories out there suspecting that Uber is losing money, if not hemorrhaging millions of dollars. Once public, the shareholders will demand they work towards making a profit. Hopefully, there will be a good amount of time between that time and driverless cars, as one way to create profit would be to raise rates.

        Uber’s goal is for their service to be cheaper than owning a car. Their long term goal, as you know, is to have a fleet of self driving cars, eliminating partnering with drivers altogether. They can’t do that now, so they need people driving for them. As long as they have people signing up in droves, they have no reason to increase fares. Perhaps once they go public (suspected later this year), their stockholders will force them to be profitable and one way to create profit would be to raise rates. Many startups, such as Amazon and eBay, suffered losses for many years before they ever made money.

        Again, as long as drivers continue to sign up, they have no reason to raise rates. Look at Detroit. Rates became so low, drivers stopped signing up. Earnings for existing drivers also dropped. Uber not only raised rates, but doubled them! From 30¢ to 70¢ a mile! So, if you want Uber to raise rates, get prospective drivers to stop signing up. Get existing drivers to reduce their earnings. Only then will Uber consider raising rates.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Walt, I’d say right about now, is I will gladly discuss any topic with you. This, I believe, has been the best discussion about anything since I started the Association.

    As for the topic, allow me to remind you . . . As we enter new markets, we usually do so in violation of local laws and such. Travis doesn’t grow these markets, the criminals that drive the market make it happen. SO his drivers jump right out there getting cited, towed, and messed with by every local agency and Court in the jurisdiction. Couple that with the knowledge that we are working towards our own end . . .

    Do you really think it fair that we do everything including violate the law for this company, and don’t get squat for doing so? I agree.we should not expect or believe we will ever get a decent rate out of Uber. But, shouldn’t we at least try? I believe we are now the highest valued company there is, why do 50% of our drivers qualify to receive welfare and/or Food Stamps?

    When I came to Uber it was, “Make 5k a month driving in the City full-time. I didn’t have a car when I started Uber so they helped me get screwed into a new car with way too much a price tag after it was calculated so when Uber lowered rates 11/2 months later I was no longer able to pay for even the car. So far I am down 15k because of Uber;s decision to lower rates a long time ago, and they continue to do too the point that we no longer make money. My investment to work with Uber was significant. I am over 15k in the red and my Partner has c hosen not to allow me to profit from our relationship.

    So what do we do? I am doing everything I can think of. Walking away is not yet an option . . .any ideas?


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