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Today, January 13th, my neighbors to the North, Broward County, came to an accord to temporarily allow Uber services while they work on further regulations. I’m sure you are excited about all the places on the map little by little beginning to allow UberX service. It’s like Steven Colbert as he slowly filled in his Better Know a District Map. Broward is a pretty good piece to fill in, and it will put pressure on Palm Beach County, and my home county of Miami-Dade.
From watching the highlights of the proceedings, it seemed like the county was most concerned with how it was going to collect its revenue. I can’t blame them for that, they have a budget to keep and rely on revenue to fund it including that $3.00 fee added to every airport fare.
Travis, you might be excited to hear this, but I am actually pleased. I mean, it’s a virtual minefield for your drivers out there right now:
Code Enforcement are keeping an eye out for drivers and writing them tickets.
Any Accident could put them out of service indefinitely.
Insurance Even this “Best In Class” doesn’t protect the drivers, $1000 collision deductible but only if you carry collision on your personal Insurance. No medical/personal injury coverage for drivers.
Minimal Fares No amount of increased efficiency can help UberX drivers make over $10/hr at the new standard rate.
Uber Marketing Always trying to get us to upgraded to a new vehicle regardless of the poor financing options, increasing our expenses, while lowering rates all the way.
So Travis, I support that one of those mines has been disabled, at least on temporary basis, but for me to throw you my entire support, I am really hoping to see more. Unfortunately, I don’t trust in you to make many of these changes to improve conditions for drivers on your own. So, I’m going to have to ask the Commissioners of Broward County to include some items in their legislation:
Minimum Rate Schedule Rates need to keep a certain minimum fare. I would ask Broward County to set pricing equal to that of Taxis. Match what Orlando just did. You might not believe me Travis, but I think it will help you. It will bring back the service element to Uber, because this just feels like a roller coaster ride straight into the ground at the moment. Even at equal price, people will pick Uber, for today anyway.
Insurance Coverage Insurance Coverage must be tweaked. Travis, I guess you can call yourself best in class when you’re the only guy in the room, but you’re insurance just sucks for drivers. For all the images you show trying to claim your $1MM is better because it has seven, yes, seven digits. But for all that dough listed in the coverage, the driver doesn’t even get collision coverage? I mean, throw in some collision, would you? Help your driver out if he gets injured, that’s also out of the insurance equation. There’s not a lot of UberX driver with cars valued over $20k. How much could that possibly cost you?
Vehicle Quality Travis, I hope Broward County sets some stronger standards for vehicles. Any vehicle with 4 doors and less than 10 years old is the current standard per Uber. Now, I’ve been driving for months, yet no one has ever even looked at my car to make sure it’s got all its safety equipment, that the brakes work properly, that the tires aren’t bald, the headlights and taillights work, or even that is not going to fall apart in the next few miles. I mean, a new driver could start with the car shown below, and Uber would have no idea until a customer took the time to complain:
I had a horrible ride lately on UberX myself. Not even bringing up his driving skills, but the car certainly felt older than 10 years, the interior was covered up in seat covers to mask interior damage, interior handles were broken, the windows were the old hand crank style. It was rattling like crazy on the highway and I thought it was going to disintegrate. But until he gets scored out of the system on his rating, he’s out there giving rides in that monstrosity. A simple inspection would have prevented my own bad customer experience.
I enjoyed the sample ride shown on CBS news with your driver Ira. He netted $4.50 on his sample fare.
Video here: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2015/01/13/broward-commissioners-set-to-take-vote-on-uber-lyft/
At 25 MPH, a fair rate of speed in this type of driving, he would have traveled 4.5 Minutes and 1.87 Miles on this trip. He drives a vehicle that looks in very good condition, newer, leather interior, with moonroof. It certainly looks like a high quality Uber Car. There’s more questions to be answered, but with these short rides, you typically put a high percentage of dead time and dead miles into them. Using 2014 IRS figures of .56 miles expenses, and .75 dead miles to 1 revenue mile, here’s how he did on the fare:
Look, short rides are total losers for Uber Drivers, if you travel far enough to get to them, they are literally a all out loser. From my own experience, IRA likely invested over 10 minutes into this ride. Nearly 5 minutes on the ride itself, but you also must factor the time to get to the customer and time waiting for the customer to get to you and enter the car to start the ride, and finally, any time for them to exit after pressing end trip. At this rate, even with a ping immediately, one after another, there is no money to be made here. There is a reason the cabs cost more.
Ira also talked a lot about how the local taxi service is pricier. He estimated a price of the taxi. Given the estimation of the time and distance of his ride, a comparable taxi ride would have been $8.90 and traditionally and added gratuity of $1-$2. Travis, why can’t you just charge $8.00 for the ride and then make everyone happy? Ira could walk away with nearly $4.50 for in income for the ride and have a shot to make some OK money for the hour, the customer is still ecstatic for the savings and IRA’s nice car, and heck, even Uber will make over 40% more at $2.40.
Travis, I mean the hard part of this to stomach, is that this is all stuff you could be self-policing and getting everyone’s endless love and support. Instead, I have to go ask the regulators for help. I mean, I feel like the kid on the schoolyard tattling to the teacher, but there is a national campaign out there against bullying today. I hope someone will answer for your “partners” and stop your bullying.
Anyway, next time, I want to talk to you how Uber is leading the race, the race to the bottom!
Talk to you soon.
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, with exception to graphs, my work is very elementary there and could certainly use impovement! This is the just the 2nd 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or via direct message on Twitter at @UberDriverMiami