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Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver II: How we doing?

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  • goforit,

    I did operate a Toyota Camry Hyrbid for a while, it was a great car to drive but the boot space was a big let down especially on airport transfers, Have found the bigger cars bring in more quality work and are actually cheaper in the long run to operate.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    dealers where very cagey over the range but it varied between 160 to 180 Km

    They pretty much have to be cagey because the range is variable depending how hard you drive the vehicle, and over what kind of terrain, and how much is stop-start, and how many passengers you're carrying (and how big they are).

    Definitely 180km would not be enough for me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Hybrid technology keeps improving... mild hybrids seem like a possible solution for professional drivers. 70% of the benefits of traditional hybrids at one third the cost, with 10-35% efficiency gains overall.

    It's new and probably won't be available here for a while, but it can be retro-fitted to existing vehicles.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    checking how far the range left would be so much of a distraction, I like to start work and not stop to refuel on the job at the rate I work I go for days on end without refueling. At least I know a full tank of LPG will cover 500 to 600 km and the half tank of petrol gives me another 300km if i need it. Mind you the Camry Hybrid did cover 850km on a full tank. Cost wise the Camry tyres didn't stand up to much in the way of rougth roads where as the bigger car takes every thing in its stride.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Also, if you notice the gas is getting low, it's not something that takes planning and foresight to fix up. It takes 5 minutes at a servo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Hi Ben hows the good fight going

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Topic for another post, but in short, it's going well enough. If you want to follow it a bit closer, email me. Link is the envelope icon at the top of every post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Hi Ben, when I check the Uber app there appears to be more and more cars available, did the Uber plan work with what has happen and are you doing at least 30% more rides.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    I guess the bulls++t plan they tried to convince the Uber drivers with did not work.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Well, certainly the fact that a number of drivers have already suffered the harsh consequences of their inducement into contract with Uber has done nothing to slow their recruitment of more uncompliant drivers down. And there has been an increase in market share, certainly, due to the price drop. But the question of how well drivers are doing before and after is one that takes some time to answer. I’ve only got detailed data back from 5 drivers so far, although I expect more will contribute soon, and will explore other sources very soon, when I get a moment’s breathing space, at which point I can really get into it.

    Anyone expecting immediate action is going to be disappointed, though. This is a massive multinational corporation we are talking about here, and it’s fallen on the below-minimum-wage exploited workers to organize any legal consequences to the massive scale campaign of making clowns out of NZ’s powers-that-be. We don’t seem to have any built in response to it beyond busting those workers on the street.

    Consequently the organization is being done by part timers like myself, on low budgets. In the long run, we can’t lose, because the case is totally prima facie. It’s going to be extremely interesting to hear Uber’s lawyers trying to convince a judge that the laws of the Netherlands apply here, and that they need not comply to any NZ transport laws, practices, or taxation processes. However, pro bono legal work is low priority, and our job in the meantime is simply to build numbers, and collect evidence, which is exactly what we’ve been doing.

    Naturally there are many champing at the bit to see action, but, as always happens in such circumstances, far, far fewer people are prepared to put in serious time required to make things happen much faster. So the build is slow. And there are many calls for strike actions, from which I’ve disassociated as much as possible, because I think they’re way too premature and the people calling for that kind of action have very, very nebulous motives and commitment. It’s the kind of thing that could easily be strongly agitated for by direct competition to Uber with the sole purpose of gaining market share, at whatever cost to the drivers themselves. I know for a fact that this is going on.

    I don’t see such moves as being in driver interests, except where they contribute to the pathway of making this kind of illegal exploitation more difficult in future. A competitor coming in and undercutting Uber isn’t going to be the great white savior that they think it will be. It’s likely just to be a new master.

    We do have other avenues that are being pursued at the same time. Direct contact with corporate users, direct dialogue with the regulators, early conversations to politicians (I’m giving the government a very small window of opportunity to be seen as the ones who finally did something, before this becomes yet another albatross for them), and of course media exposure.

    To be honest, on the media, I’m happy to get a lot more momentum going before blowing any more capital on that. Drivers being bitter on their wages is not a story that’s going to have much legs, in a country where everyone is bitter on their wages, most especially those without any wages at all. It’s enough for me to know that quite a few journalist are interested in telling this story the moment they get real news. I only quite reluctantly did this particular blog post at all – I did it for the drivers themselves, not because it is part of my strategy. They certainly appreciated it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    It could end up in an unassailable position, if it can get the drivers on its side. It's strange that it has absolutely no idea how to do that - I can only put it down to the erroneous idea that it is, in fact, a tech stock, which pretty much works like a tech company. It's not. It's a transport organization, and that works differently to how these Silicon Valley people think.

    They are probably libertarians, then. You might be well placed to act as a bridge to the real world. Though I'm not sure they'd ever agree.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Though I’m not sure they’d ever agree

    I wonder if they're really prepared to die in a ditch over it. I think not, and we pretty much have to act on the presumption that if it has to be a ditch, then a ditch it will be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    This is a New Zealand story and they're not getting away with this shit. Not in my country.

    Onya

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Just remember the cake we all feed from is so big, the thing Uber is hoping that passengers will forsake compliancy of the transport act in favour of very cheap rides. Over the past four weeks I have noticed a slight swing back of passengers to taxi industry.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Imagine the nightmare involved any time a software upgrade has to be rolled out in a way that requires some kind of hard-restart?

    Tesla seem to have this sorted. Maybe they will merge at some stage?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to goforit,

    Over the past four weeks I have noticed a slight swing back of passengers to taxi industry.

    Possibly like Australian customers vs cheap milk purveyors like Fonterra.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    When talking to some of these passengers it appears not to be the money issue but the overall safety and accountability issues.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    It is still beyond me why the NZTA hasn't enforced the act

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    It is still beyond me why the NZTA hasn’t enforced the act

    I think their powers don't extend to taking on multinational corporations. So they are left with busting drivers that Uber induced into a fully non-compliant contractual agreement with. They advise any driver signing up that they will be breaking the law, and they have gone so far as to pre-emptively warn the drivers off. I think they're doing what they can within their mandate. Unfortunately, that mandate was not set up to deal with this kind of problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    NZ startup offers another model.

    Chariot is an incoming ride-sharing app that aims to improve the quality of life for all Kiwis that travel by road. For Dr Thomas Kiefer, CEO and co-founder of Chariot, the app represents a new model of transportation, one that utilises the 80% of car seats on the road that are currently unused.

    Users post their drive on the app - be it a short commute or road trip - and connect with other users looking to go in the same direction. The app has has a comprehensive safety system and a "waypoint matching algorithm" that calculates the portion of cost each user owes the drivers, splitting the cost of the ride fairly.

    Currently the app is available on Android in Auckland and Wellington, with an iOS version coming shortly. Chariot is in partnership talks with various organisations, so a more social commute is on the road ahead.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Sounds like a good idea. Carpooling is in some ways a better solution to real mass transport problems, which Uber have really only added to. I'd think carpooling would work for commuters, whereas the Uber model is better for people going drinking.

    Apparently uberPOOL is an absolute nightmare for all involved, drivers and riders alike.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Uberpool will be Uber's next step here in an attempt to get around the regulations, and if you think about it that could be a reason why they are lowering there rates to bring then in line with running cost recovery as in car pooling

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    they don't have to take on Uber directly, just enforce the act on the drivers, if one reads the act all Uber drivers are non compliant.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

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