They are Listening!!! …(a little)

Travis,

Still haven’t heard back from you yet…unless this comment was really you…

Screenshot 2015-01-16 12.07.49

Today, I went checking on craigslist…and I noticed a couple changes to your advertisements around here….

First…here’s the the image I posted in my entry, Winter Slump…..

uber cl

Now, here’s what I noticed today, with a little side by side comparison from last week to this week.

uber cl

So, lets talk about what jumps out at us first….

You changed how much your drivers can earn IN FARES in any given week.  Last week we could do up to $1500 in fares, and now we are down to earning up to $1000 in fares.  Of course that’s really just around $720 in revenue if you really could make that much on UberX.  And finally, your real true income is just around $216 after clearing all expenses.  But its hard to get excited about $4.32/hour, even if there is a company car involved, so I see why you go with the misleading route and ignore all driver expenses in every business decision.

Did anyone else notice that other little subtle change to show they are reading???

Now if you are a Spanish speaker, they stopped trying to tell you that you could earn even more!  Or that you were more capable of working 70-80 hour work weeks.  So there is no imaginary bonus for speaking Spanish anymore.  To my spanish speakers: Sorry if I had gotten your hopes up.

I think it was a wise move of your staff Travis, to stop throwing in how much more you could make, but only in Spanish.  You got called out for advertising more earnings in Spanish, and your team took action!  Congrats on a small step on doing the right thing.

I’ll send you a bill for the consulting fee.  At .16/min, you owe me a solid $1.60 for the few minutes it took me to type that up.  After your 20% commission back on it, just make it $1.28.  It’ll help with the $10.00/week phone charge since I’m not using it as much these days.

Travis, anyway, you are welcome again.  I happy to see someone on your staff is listening.  As always, look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

@uberdrivermiami

Your writer is a driver on the Uber system in Miami on a part time basis.    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 uberdrivermiami@gmail.com or via direct message on Twitter at @UberDriverMiami

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Tattling to the Teacher

Please follow me on twitter at @uberdrivermiami

Travis,

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.

150114 Uber Colbert

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:

150114 Uber Tracks

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.

150114 Uber Mines

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:

150114 Uber Busted Car

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:

150114 Uber Ira 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.

150114 cartoon

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 realuber@hmamail.com or via direct message on Twitter at @UberDriverMiami

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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.

#UberOn

#UberXploitation

#UberXonomics

#UberBS

#UberWinterSlump

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 realuber@hmamail.com or via direct message on Twitter at @UberDriverMiami

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