Winter Slump

Please follow me at @uberdrivermiami on twitter!

Dear Travis,

You are a scumbag.

I can’t say you are bad at building a business, you’ve scaled this thing with tremendous growth year after year faster than any business from Shark Tank, but you are still a narcissistic, and self-loathing liar; taking advantage of those you call ‘partners’ every step of the way. You got this going from the ground up, and for that, you certainly deserve to be rewarded handsomely…and so far you have, with your multi-billion dollar net worth.  I congratulate you, I sincerely do Travis.  But while you sit there on your billions and continue to grow your business, can you stop fighting me and the other core representatives of your business over what is pennies to you?

Uber Travis Net Worth

You see, I’ve invested more capital into your business over the last year than you have, and its increasingly becoming a losing proposition.  I am indeed one of your “partners.”   I don’t feel like your partner though, every time I turn around, you are dictating the terms, and somehow, they always fall out of my favor.  I don’t even get consulted.  Not even a simple, ‘how would you feel if we tweaked this a little?’   It’s starting to feel like a better description than ‘Uber Partner’ would be ‘Uber Sucker.’

That’s right Travis, I’ve taken my 2 year old mid-sized SUV, and I drive it on the Uber network.  I have a car payment, insurance, fuel, maintenance, car washes, and more to cover.  I only do this part-time on the side, but with just 4 months in, this should still be new and exciting.  Instead, I feel like a 20 year vet, remembering the golden days of driving, when rates, back in the day of September 2014, were $1.75/mile and $.20/minute on UberX in my market.  Everyone hates that old surly guy in the room with the stories of ‘how it used to be,’ but that’s right, two significant cuts in just the last three months down to $.95/mile and $.16/min has made me that old surly guy in the room.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 18.18.01

The funny part is, the customers don’t even realize there was a cut, especially since the rate breakdown was removed from the application for customers to see.  Plus, it comes as Miami hits its High Season.  While the rest of the country may be in that Winter Slump you claimed as justification for cutting rates in 48 cities, Miami is just jumping off in our prime high season.  You’ll get to show some stats about how many more rides we got, just when we were going to shoot up in users anyhow.

Travis, my average ride from first few weeks of driving was 5.31miles and 14.12 minutes.  I feel like that number is significantly higher than the true average for my area, but I will use these numbers.  In those golden days of driving UberX, my average ride was $14.62.  After Uber’s $1 Trust and Safety Fee, and 20% commission, that is $10.89 in revenue.  After the 1st rate cut in October, that same driving was worth an $11.66 fare, and $8.53 in revenue.  Today, that very same driver is worth a $9.30 fare, and $6.64 in revenue.

But Travis, Uber always ignores the driver’s expenses.  They did so when they claimed NYC drivers were making $90k and San Francisco drivers were making $70k.  The IRS in 2014 had a standard mileage rate of .56/mile.  It’s what the IRS determines to be a reasonable rate of expense using a vehicle for business.  There’s also a factor of dead miles.  Extra miles on the car to get you to a location where you can expect a pickup, or miles to the pickup location, and miles driven to get to your next pickup.  Many report driving a dead mile for every revenue miles.  For this purpose, I was kind and used just 1 dead mile driven for every 2 revenue miles. After calculating expenses Travis, my INCOME for very same ride for these three sets of rates is: $6.43; $4.07; $2.18.

Income, the number that matters, the number that Uber ignores, is reduced 36.7% on the first cut and a cumulative 66% after 2 rate cuts.   Even if a driver had an hour of calls back to back to back, they can not even earn above Florida’s new 2015 minimum wage without surging fares.  Travis, perhaps you can tell me what part of those $7/hr in income is that gratuity you keep insisting is built into the fare? Travis, It’s to the point where now Uber makes more money on an individual ride than I do…

Uber Rates, Same Ride

Forced to accept less for a fare, and a lower profit margin for it. That’s not very partner like of you Travis!

Yet everyday on craigslist Travis, I still see these ads about all the money you can make Ubering.  For some reason, (and despite English being a listed requirement of driving for Uber), the advertisements in Spanish says you can make 1.5 times more.  It’s earn $1000 when the ad is in English, and earn $1500 when it’s in Spanish.   Does Uber pay more for being bilingual in a bonus I have not yet heard about?  Or does Uber believe Spanish speakers are more gullible?  Or can deal with bigger disappointment?  Or maybe you believe they work longer hours?  Why the difference?

uber cl

Travis, Even if I believe an UberX $20/hour in fares as noted on the craigslist ads, (I don’t) and let’s say that is based on 2 rides an hour (the precedent set by the Chicago example as justification for the drop).  At 25 MPH, a very high average speed for this type of driving, it would yield 2 rides averaging 6 miles and 14.4 minutes in length each.  Averaging near 50% occupancy rate is incredibly high in this business, but I’ll continue with their example: From the $20/hr: $2.00 goes to Uber on the Trust and Safety Fee. $3.60 goes to Uber on their commission. That leaves $14.40 in Revenue and you might be feeling good about that. But that’s up to $10.08 in Expenses ($.56/mile and dead miles to revenue miles 1:2) Just $4.32/hour in INCOME is left at their inflated fares example.  Meanwhile Uber collected $5.60. At the end of the day, you are just trading the equity in the car for some upfront cash.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 17.00.46

Travis, It’s clear Uber depends on bringing on drivers that do not understand how to do the math.  It’s why we lose features on the driver’s dashboards that would help us understand our revenue, expenses, and income.  It’s why you keep advertising how much can be made in fares, but not in revenue and income.  It’s why you ignore driver’s expenses when you report on how much they make…and then you push these subprime leases charging drivers over 20% interest on them while cutting rates all along.  Those drivers have even higher operational expenses with their new cars and high interest rates.  It’s why you are a scumbag.

Travis, I know I was a little harsh, and called you a lot of names, but the gist of all this is: how about helping out the little guy who is the backbone of your empire, and offering what is still a very fair price to the customer.  Your drivers want to work, they want to earn honestly, they want to provide good service.  However, they system is now rigged against them.  If it’s not the horrid car financing deals that gets them, if its not the lack of insurance coverage for the driver that gets them, if its not the ridiculous rating system, if its not the authorities that get them for operating illegally, its your own dastardly low rates that’s going to do them in.  All while you smile and tell everyone how great everything is and roll in a fresh crop of drivers.

Travis, your best drivers are already leaving in droves now, and it might still be a little bit away, but eventually you’ll burn through us all as we slowly realize this is not worth it as a minimum wage job pays better.  As the quality of the driver and the ride continues to fall to conditions worse than those taxis you were beating into the ground, your customers will find another way to get from Point A to Point B.






Your writer is a driver on the Uber system in Miami on a part time basis.  He provides open license to post this on your blog or news website when posted in its entirety.  Any edits must be cleared with the author first.  This is the just the 1st in a series of letters to Travis. At this time, the author wishes to remain anonymous as criticism of Uber in a social space has had other drivers deactivated.  He has not yet totally given up on Uber, and hopes they can right their wrongs, learn to treat its ‘partners’ with respect, and continue to drive on a part time basis.  And if that does not work, he is ready to start work to beat Uber at its own game.  Any media inquiries or requests for evidence to ensure I am indeed a driver may be made via the below contact details. For questions and further comment, he can be reached at or via direct message on Twitter at @UberDriverMiami


24 thoughts on “Winter Slump

  1. Mike Vidal says:

    Excellent post and truth to what Uber has done to their ” Partners”. Now we are more like slaves. I will not drive with the new rates. I won’t even bother to chase a surge just so I can be paid at the older rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike Vidal says:

    One item I forgot to mention, this decision was done a vacuum with no thought of what the real market dynamics are here in Miami. Every one of my Uber passengers would rant on how crappy the taxis are and the scams that the driver pull.
    There was never any need to reduce the rates. This is only a scheme to kill the competition.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so dead on target, as a driver we have to get together and boycott uber so Travis can come here in drive himself. Lets remember that uber is going through a hyper grow, 42 billion $ for a company who owns nothing WE are his product and WE can set the rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shamman says:

    After travis new fare prices
    We the drivers can not quit
    We cant give up
    We started this crab; now we got continuing supporting travis and the pseudo riders scum, now
    Whats going to happen with them?accostumed to pay nanopeanuts for taxi we can not let them down
    This poor disgusted pseudopax are not willing to ride anymore on the stinky taxis
    Also with this new rates homeless and walfare recipients would be able to have a decent transpirtation
    Travis will be very proud of us for help him to depreciate the taxi industry now “new rates” by a 80% and make believe all this cheap, frugal, arrogant, indecent, cinics, disgusted, shameless, classless pseudo riders that we are a bounch of mental retarders doing this just for fun or the pleasure to meet such scum
    Keep doing like that ill like to see how you end up in the bext comming days dealing with the stress and the pressure of know that some scum people is rating you despite the nanopeanuts they are paying you comparing with the disgusted stinky cabs
    So please erase that stupid idea of quit from your head
    Travis at this point is very pleased
    And dont forget; he loves you

    By the way
    The forum is a joke they dont allow the freedom of speach at all
    Running by travis And his crew
    They only want to read beautiful lies but not real issues
    As soon you said something real as soon you are banned

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wrote it and I stand behind it.

      No, I don’t expect a reply from Travis. I didn’t write it for him. I wrote it for my fellow Uber Drivers who have had the rug swept out from under them. It was meant to call attention to the plight of Uber Drivers who suddenly face sub $1.00 mile fares, and do not have enough hours in the day to make up the income. Travis does a good job promoting that drivers do very well here. I might be starting from scratch, but this is my attempt to shed light on the issue. Currently working on other topics as well.

      It’s been sent onto every @uber address I can find so far. Someone from Uber will read it, and they might even pass it around. It might find its way to the head honchos, and it might not, but I have a feeling it will upset someone over there. I am already humbled that it has received 500+ views here on this site, and hundreds more on I hope it motivates others to share their experience, and to act for improved “partner” conditions, because from what I gather, the Uber ‘Partner’ Experience is pretty shitty today.


  5. Travis Kalanick, and everyone financially supporting Uber, are ’emancipating the slaves (drivers)’, and emancipating the passengers, from an absolutely criminally evil taxicab monopoly system.

    Anyone who does not understand this, does not really understand the ground transportation system, either in the United States, or around the world.


    Jackson Rip Holmes
    23-year former taxi driver in Miami and Connecticut
    Uber driver


  6. Mike says:

    Excellent letter…I would suggest that all Uber drivers print it and hand it out to all of the customers they pick up. It’s quite possible that the sociopaths at the top of the Uber food chain will listen to disgruntled customers who have been educated to the reality of the drivers situation, most think the drivers are making money and being treated well. Have you sent this letter to any media? Oh, as far as Jackson Rip Holmes comments are concerned, I for one am not out here to emancipate anyone or thing, I’m trying to make money to pay bills.


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  8. ScrewedInVirginia says:

    Well put sir. I have sent many emails to Uber that use your very same logic and quite similar math. Either the managers I’ve corresponded with really don’t understand basic math and how to comput a net profit for drivers or they are deliberately dishonest and misleading. In my region it is near impossible to bring home more money an hour then I was making previously and it is patently impossible to be more profitable. But Uber still gets the same 20%, their profit margins stay the same.

    I do this part time as well. It was a bit addictive when it was profitable and sometimes I would have a hard time turning off the app. Every time it want off I new I was making money and I felt I was providing an exceptional value to my customers. I provided extras and I believe my ratings were good. 4,83 after aprox a thousand trips in the 6 months I’ve been operating. Always edging higher and higher and never down.

    I am not/will not be a charity for which Travis/Uber is the reciever of my toil and time. Now most rides I give I have to travel further to pick up the passenger then the passenger’s actual paid trip putting me in the hole or right at the precipice of falling in.

    Douche Bag move Travis!!👎


  9. John busto says:

    UBER strike Miami! The silence will be deathening when a potentional passenger tries to request an UBER and receive the message “NO UBERx available….”1/23/2015

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mercidieu theveno says:

    Thanks yes let’s do it together we will make uber feel us because of what uber did to us is not right we not a sleverry please let make it happen


  11. Lily says:

    If this us real I’m down!! Horrible how they treat us after getting us engaged!! I wonder if it’s even legal to sandbag us the way they did…


  12. Omer says:

    I have never heard any rider complaining about Uber prices(except surge price), but Uber is still dropping the rates. And I do not understand why UberSelect was not affected by ant price cut. It is kind of a discrimination. I enjoyed reading every piece of this letter. Good job bro.


  13. Red Dera says:

    I am a former Taxi Driver for 17 years here in Dade county, I drove for Yellow Cab, Central Cab, Super Yellow, etc…
    I left Taxi business because of the way they treat their drivers (at least we were driving and using their cars)
    But now we are driving and using our beautiful cars and look at the way Uber is treating their (so called Partners)
    Some riders they like to rate you one star just because you refuse them to smoke in your car.
    Uber tells you do not ask customers 5 stars, well I did listen to Uber in the beginning but my rating went down, guess what I received an email from Uber telling me that my rating is at risk, now since I am following my policy by asking nice customers not the bad and rude ones to rate me 5 star, my rating went up, and Uber sent me an email to congradulate me.
    I know myself I am always good to customers, my car always clean and I know my way around Dade and Broward Counties.


  14. Pingback: The magic of Uber | Austin writes again

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