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

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  • Brent Jackson,

    Playing Whack-a-mole by unfairly penalising a few % of uber drivers that they could catch, is hardly going to solve the problem. They need to prosecute (or threaten to prosecute) Uber for encouraging illegal acts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    very true but the drivers themselves know thay are non compliant with the act. Where the NZTA can get Uber ii under the provisions of the 'Chain of Responsibilty"

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Even passengers can be charged under the same provision for using the Uber service

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Interesting turn. Now WINZ is taking jobseekers down to the Uber Green Light office (for obvious reasons they stopped calling it the Partners office) to get a job. I think this shit just got political.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It's a bit of a worry if refusing to take a job driving illegally for Uber is now grounds for losing your benefit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    does one think that by overlooking a couple of the regulations the flood gates are open to just about do anything one feels is now ok and when another government dept appears to be supporting the breakdown of the regs the mind just boggles.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to goforit,

    I have just been contacted by the Ezygo Taxi App and been informed their launch will be this coming Fri. I have attacted an estimate of a 10km trip fare comparison.
    They say compliant Uber drivers are welcome to join up.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Dosn't look like i can attached the file, but basicly showns for the same trip Ezygo as Uber drivers will earn at least 50% more in hand.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Here's something for Uber drivers to look forward to... UberEATS. They want to turn you into glorified pizza delivery drivers.

    And I see Uber drivers in Manchester, Birmingham and London are planning a strike for the 6th June. One of the commenters on that thread says:

    I don't think drivers are striking against costumers, just the money making booking office, who signed us up on certain conditions and then after they got us trapped into investing vast amounts of money, they began to move the goal posts,putting on new conditions into our contracts which we had to agree to or you can't log into the devices.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Alfie,

    Presumably they are a long way further down the track of building a large association of drivers. If we did that here, it could easily be ignored at the moment. With 500-1000 drivers it might be a different matter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    you have to be joking, getting a bunch of dodgy drivers to unite, Ubers driver model is set up to pitch driver against driver. if any driver steps out of the Uber line up they are kicked out.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    In April, Uber paid $US84m to settle two class action lawsuits brought by drivers in California and Massachusetts.

    The key issue the settlement sought to establish was whether drivers would be independent contractors or Uber employees. Drivers will remain independent contractors, though Uber will work "to create a drivers' association in both states."

    Uber also undertook to "provide drivers with more information when their accounts with Uber were being penalized or suspended due to complaints."

    If that agreement sounds a bit rough on the drivers, it was. They went back to court, pointing out that only two parties benefitted from the deal -- Uber and the lawyer representing the drivers. Yup, their own lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan did a dirty on them.

    The judge agreed that the deal looks dodgy and it looks like the settlement may be voided. Watch this space!

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Hi Ben, I see you and your cause is back in the news. Feed back from the public appears to be they don't care about the drivers, the law etc as they are getting low priced rides and what they think is better service. We all know if Uber was the only trnsport option the rates would be higher than the services they are trying to replace.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And NZTA responds at last.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    MSM catches up with Ben...

    Uber drivers across the country are abandoning the service after feeling they've been left out-of-pocket.
    Auckland driver Arden MacDonald left his fulltime job last year to take up driving for Uber, but reapplied for his old job after driving for Uber became unsustainable.
    The company said it had received positive feedback from its drivers, but MacDonald said while he was a "huge" Uber supporter early on, recent changes had made drivers unhappy.
    Uber dropped prices by 20 per cent in April, while maintaining a 20 per cent commission for every ride.
    ...
    MacDonald said the drop in fare prices meant licensed drivers could no longer afford to rely on the service for their main income.
    "A licensed driver has to pay for their P endorsement, for their commercial licence, for commercial insurance, income tax and GST. After costs, it works out that you are only making about $8 an hour."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/80698018/unhappy-uber-drivers-abandon-company-after-price-changes

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    NZTA has been 100% consistent about all of this all along. Any time anyone calls, this is what they have been told.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I just got quoted in the Newstalk ZB bulletin after calling in. Sounds like most of the callers rang in with the love-fest for Uber, expressing near unanimous disinterest in how much drivers were getting paid. Which goes a long way toward my own feeling that action coming from the direction of consumers is not going to lead to any changes at all. I do think that sharper users might be able to almost directly rid the roads of non-compliant drivers just using the pernicious rating system. It's a system literally designed only to punish, with the most extreme left skew I've ever seen in anything that could claim to be a distribution based on real world data. You literally have the entire range of driver ratings crammed in the 4.5-5.0 range, the whole curve. Which means it's extremely susceptible to outliers, and a committed and quite small rider base who consistently downrated non-compliant drivers could remove them from the road in quite a short amount of time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    For reference, btw, I know Arden, who is quoted in that article. He has the most extreme rating of any driver I've yet seen, in the low 4.9s. He drives a late model Skoda with heated leather seats, always details it before rides, provides water, mints, newspapers. Dresses in a suit, opens the door for every passenger. This is a guy who goes well beyond the extra mile in customer services. For this, he gets well below minimum wage. This is the level of exploitation that Uber have engineered.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Or, as another driver put it: We give 5 star service for 1 star pay.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I modeled in simulation what would be required to slip below the dreaded 4.5 from my own rating of 4.88. If the distribution that my rating must be based on is a "real" underlying distribution of what riders would think of my service then I have effectively a near zero chance of ever slipping below 4.5 from random variation. But anyone towards the bottom of the 4.5-5.0 range (which, you will note, rounds to 5, and is effectively synonymous with what "5 star service" actually means on even the most pernicious measure, let alone more sensible measures), has quite a high chance of losing their right to work just from the random variation that can happen in who they pick up. A few one stars in a row would do it. The driver could have one bad night where they were feeling not particularly pleased with passengers, and let it slip through the carefully erected mask of bonhomie/servitude, and bang, there goes their job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, I must have missed this last month.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes, I certainly don't want to ever convey the idea that NZTA is somehow on the side of Uber. They would seem to be exerting such powers as they have. Which would seem to be nowhere near enough, in this situation. They don't have the power to prosecute a company for violating the taxi/private hire service laws of the country when in a legal sense Uber disavows even being such a thing, and has no legal presence as such at all in this country. It operates entirely through proxies, and for the most part those proxies are the drivers themselves.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Hi Ben, I see you and your cause is back in the news.

    Getting in the news hasn't really been difficult. What's really difficult is getting on with the business at hand, the legal process of society formation and building a case. It costs money and time, neither of which I have. Also, getting the data, which Uber has on tap, is a lengthy process. The other people working on it have been awesome too, there's a small team of highly committed people. But pretty soon we are going to hit the wall where we have to raise funds. Lots and lots of funds.

    Presumably every fledgling worker group is beset like this at the start.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    NZTA used to be on top of things, over the years i seen them chase the hell out of non compliance. Once we showed the NZTA repect and we knew the outcome if they caught anyone. Even an law aboiding taxi/private hire operator like myself has had my license suspended over what I thought was a justified slight bending of the regs, Now they are toothless and come up with all sorts of excuses why they will not enforce the transport act. I cannot see any reason anymore for their existance. lets thrown all NZ law out of the windows pay no taxes, drive whenever and whatever, rip everyone off.
    Hang on that is what is happening, Uber has shown us the light.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    I think it's unfair to suggest that they are dealing with the same problem. Uber is not a holder of any kind of transport license in NZ. They have been extremely careful not to be. Which leaves NZTA with only victims to bust. I think they've shown clemency, if anything, an admirable quality. Because the people they have to bust are literally people with nothing.

    I don't know what other agency has the power to reach out and touch Uber itself. IRD? The MoT? At this point, we're left with pursuing justice the only way that is left for private citizens to do so, when the authorities either can't or won't do it, which is through prosecution on our own behalf. We will do it, but obviously it's not going to happen at the speed that a government agency with a huge budget and lawyers on the payroll could act.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

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