The Question, Is Uber a Scam?

Last night while browsing the Internet, I went into a facebook group site where the question, “Is Uber a Scam?” was asked. I read about 35 responses to the question and decided that I wanted to put my 2 cents into the topic.

Is Uber a Scam? I wonder if Uber isn’t more a “Con” than a “Scam.”

In 2014 Uber was on a fast-track taking the transportation “car-for-hire” industry by slaveowner_thumb.jpgstorm. Uber had unleashed UberX upon the world with the intent to push everyone else out of the industry. Now to truly take control of the industry, Uber had to convince others that it was not a Transportation Company. Well, a Country full of Computer Nerds failed to add two and two to make four, cannot ascertain that if you are using a phone line to contact your driver, it makes no difference if your phone talks to a person or a computer. Well, the only real difference is the modem sound on one line.

Once upon a time Uber used to be a specialty transportation company. That period is long past. Now, Uber is a low price cab company. Another difference between Uber and Taxi Services, is cabs are limited to a certain quantity on the road at a time. Uber bears no such regulation so in San Francisco it is cabs 2000, Uber 37,500. It’s real easy to get to your rider quickly, if you have a car on every corner in the City. And, the con grows from here.

With the con that Uber is not a transportation company running full swing Uber manages to con one City after the next using public opinion as it’s sword to conquer city politics and regulation like it is a force for good. Where another transportation provider would have to pay heavily to enter into the transportation industry, Uber has conned city governments far and wide and done so for free. And, the Cities fall for it. But, of course Uber was also ready for every City government also. Uber had a group of staff members ready at the keyboard twisting any opposition they faced into outright lies to sway the public their way. Twitter and FaceBook have become weapons of choice when trying to push someone in a corner using social media, and Uber uses it well.

Laugh_thumb.pngIf you separate Uber into the two different driver classes it is, you find that one half makes good money. The other does not make an acceptable level of compensation no matter how many lies they tell. You see, Uber has regulated professional drivers that are permitted by the local Transportation Authority. These drivers do not need to work with Uber, but find they can make an additional income doing so. Then we have UberX. UberX is the non-regulated bottom end of Uber.

A look at driver rates shows the difference in compensation, but it also shows nobody at Uber is being paid the equivalent of the true Independent Driver for the same job elsewhere. Here’s a look at San Francisco Rates:

UuberPOOL

Base fare: N/ACost per min:: N/ACost per mile/km: N/AService fee: 0Cancellation fee: N/A

uberX

Base fare: $2 Cost per min:$0.22 Cost per mile: $1.15 Service fee: $1.55 Cancellation fee: $5

uberXL

Base fare: $3 Cost per min: $0.3 Cost per mile: $2 Service fee: $1.55 Cancellation fee: $5

UberSELECT

Base fare: $5 Cost per min::$0.5 Cost per mile: $2.75 Service fee: $1.55 Cancellation fee: $5

UberBLACK

Base fare: $8 Cost per min: $0.65 Cost per mile: $3.75 Service fee: $0 Cancellation fee: $10

UberSUV

Base fare: $15 Cost per min:$0.9 Cost per mile: $3.75 Service fee: $0 Cancellation fee: $10

ASSIST

Base fare: $2 Cost per min:$0.22 Cost per mile: $1.15 Service fee: $1.55 Cancellation fee: $5

uberWAV

Base fare: $5 Cost per min:$0.45 Cost per mile: $2.15 Service fee: $1.55 Cancellation fee: $5

uberTAXI

Base fare: N/A Cost per min:: N/ACost per mile/km: N/AService fee: 0N/A

You will note UberX rates are the lowest rates shown. You would think it not such a big deal a few lower level cars being paid so low, but UberX is better than 50% of Uber’s fleet and when you calculate these driver’s income paid for their services, you are talking 250,000 or more drivers that are being exploited to working for free. The UberX rates barely cover the drivers expense in most markets and do not meet the expense paid for many of the drivers.

As much as I hate repeating myself, “after expenses paid, Uber makes more money per trip than the drivers do.” But, this is where part of the con comes in. From the very beginning, Uber has never told the truth to anyone that I know of. If you ask a question, you will never know it the answer true. Back in July of 2014 Uber’s advertisements promised you could make $5k per month working 40 hours per week in San Francisco. New drivers were being hired by the score. We later learned that you could make $5k in FARES, which translates to about $2800.00 in earnings, which after paying your expenses left you with less than 2k in take home pay.

Then the rate cuts, from $2.65 per mile to $1.15 per mile since 2014. Some drivers feel that driving for Uber is not intended to be a full-time job. A lot of drivers were contracted to work with Uber because of the “40 hours per week” advertisement.

The rate cuts claimed that the drivers would make even more money by increased demand because the riders would flock to the lowered prices. A flooded market, with lowered fares meant that the driver had to work twice as hard to earn previous earnings, only to have the reality of twice the expense to get there. The amazing part is how the driver loses, yet Uber wins by doubling down on the “booking fee.”  The con continues . . .

After so many rate cuts you would expect that somewhere there would be a rate increase. Well, there was one. Actually there have been a few, but the one most remembered is when Uber increased rates to increase their “Booking Fee.” What you have to do is look over the impact of every act made by Uber. Every rate change was claimed to make the driver more money. At no time has a rate reduction improved drivers pay. Every rate reduction and increase has served to benefit only Uber. This gets better . . .

People being what they are, are going to complain when they are getting screwed, so drivers have taken to the Internet to bitch about Uber. But, the drivers are unaware that Uber is prepared for them with a handful of their staff waiting behind their keyboards manning most the Uber related FaceBook Group sites where they have convinced many that they are drivers just like everyone else on the site, but they aren’t drivers at all.

Whenever a driver complains on one of the facebook group sites about anything related to the job, there is always at least one response about how they’re doing the job wrong, or they should just quit if they don’t like it, and similar responses to “down play” the drivers complaint. It takes little time before others not knowledgeable of the situation chime in against the complaint.

Now, think about what I just said. Uber has workers assigned to the task of  swaying social media in their favor. What kind of ethic suggests that this kind of activity is acceptable at all? Uber has set up an environment in which the drivers do not interact with each other unless by accident. There is no meeting or gathering area and drivers do not have to go to a set location to clock in or out, so it’s really not possible to know who is and who isn’t. But Uber takes their charade a step further.  There is question if Uber isn’t running a couple of facebook group pages  themselves and monitoring certain drivers activities. I suspect this is untrue, although it would likely be an easy task to pull off. The point I am trying to make is there is nowhere for driver interaction that the driver can feel secure not under the nosy eye of Uber. These issues are how Uber keeps drivers from unifying to stand up to Uber. And, that brings us to the con continuation.

Uber recently tried to make a Settlement ion the class action law suit that was supposed tokalanickrobot_thumb.jpg determine the job classification of the Uber drivers. If the settlement is accepted, this question will go unanswered, which in itself is as negligent if ever a Court can be. If the Court allows the settlement offer to go through, the Court will have damned a half of a million hard working men and women to modern day slavery. To make matters worse, the monetary pay off for the drivers included in the settlement is nothing more than pennies, the benefit of having to be given a real reason for being removed from use of the Uber App still does not allow for representation of the driver, and any Association run by the Company is a Company Association, not a Driver’s Association. But, the con continues . . .

I could continue this article because there are many instances of what feels like “con” job by Uber but I choose to spin the wheel and give my answer to the question . . . Uber is not a scam, it is a well played con-game with Travis Kalanick playing the world for a fool and he will likely get away with it. 

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