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Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver III: How do I rate?

278 Responses

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  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Its business model is buying market share using speculative capital and then pretending to be a sound business

    A transport analyst reckons it's not even able to be profitable without hugely jacking up fares once competitors have been driven out of business.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    That seems highly plausible to me. It's already about half the price of the cheapest alternative except Zoomy, which is running the same model. Which will crack first is the only question. Zoomy have deep pockets behind them too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    I read that article and was taken back by the amount of 4 times the price to be profitable and I presume that both Uber and its drivers, if we compare that to the average taxi fare in Auckland that would be twice the average price of an taxi fare.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    I could only presume that the author was basing that on a considerably higher driver income than what has become normal. Which would be nice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    That is what I had presumed, of course if uber keeps on flooding the market with more and more drivers the amount recovered from the passengers has to be increased to maintain the income. Thats the realality of this so called free market place. The cake is only so big.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    I see Uber is issuing instruction re flirting in Uber cars. Why does not the great Uber organisation take note how the taxi indrustry has handled these situations and its very sipmle to put under control.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Cameras? I'm convinced they would be of great benefit to drivers. Therein probably lies the reason that Uber is against them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Naked Capitalism is running a series of five stories delving into “Uber’s Ponzi-scheme economics”. Hopefully they may contain some interesting data for Ben and others researching Uber’s practices.

    Link: via BoingBoing

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    Bang on Ben, it has certainly reduced ":he did that" and "she did that" and fully backs up or shows what or did not happen. Has saved a lot of drivers from having their P endorsements instantly removed and the bad drivers removed from the industry. Mind you Uber takes these drivers on due to zero requirement for P endorsements LOL.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Guy Standing, who's warned of the emergence of the new precariat, cites Uber as an example of rent-seeking as applied to the Internet of Things.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    More on the UK select committee report - calling out Uber for its reliance on "sweated labour".

    One driver told [Committee Chair, Labour's Frank] Field: “Yesterday my hourly net income fell to £2 an hour. I made £40 cash, then had to put in £30 in petrol.” Another described his work as being so low paid he received working tax credits from the state despite working very long hours. “The fares are too low and the commission too high. Drivers work six and a half days and 16 hours a day – dangerous for the driver, passenger and the public. Often you will earn less than the minimum wage, so you work more hours.”

    Field is calling for TfL and the Department for Transport to require Uber to banish “sweated labour” from its working practices before renewing its licence to operate when it ends in 2017. He also wants the government to reform employment law so that companies in the gig economy are required to give workers basic protections, including the national living wage.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Sacha,

    But yet they still drive for Uber, only have themselves to blame.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/11/uber-driver-breaks-record-397-mile-journey-virginia-brooklyn/

    When one looks close at this fare Uber drivers in this country are really well off. By my calulations even without allowing for the time factor and converting miles to kilometers look like the rate per km is approx 50c.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to goforit,

    By my calulations even without allowing for the time factor and converting miles to kilometers look like the rate per km is approx 50c.

    Then according to the IRD's Mileage rate for self-employed people they're losing 22c for every km they drive.

    The mileage rate for motor vehicles is 72 cents per kilometre.

    They used to have a sliding scale relating to the engine size of a vehicle but that seems to have been standardised by the IRD at some point. The AA calculates the rate at up to $1.07 per km.

    When my Dad drove a taxi back in the 50s and 60s, he used to split the income into thirds. One third for the driver, one for the owner and a third to the car. In theory that was enough to cover all running costs and repairs and to put aside enough money to buy a replacement vehicle every three years.

    It strikes me that a lot of people who drive for Uber are quite naive when it comes to considering depreciation and eventual vehicle replacement. And Uber take advantage of that.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Alfie,

    Its even worse than what stated up above, the return distance has to factored in, when thats added in the driver is losing at least 0.40c/km. Good on Uber making the driver pay for part of the trip as well as the passenger, good business model.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-traffic-Uber-Lyft-SFMTA-blame-10791265.php
    One of the so called positive things Uber say it helps with traffic congestion, but not in a good way by this article.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to David Hood,

    Never the fault of Uber's dream of the future lol.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to David Hood,

    Naturally, as with every complaint to Uber, there is no way to ascertain whether their claim to have disciplined the human driver even happened at all. And if it did happen, there is no way that the person being disciplined got any kind of natural justice. Their method of distancing themselves from all responsibility, whilst retaining all power and control, is literally going to have to kill someone before it is ever pulled apart. Even then, I think it's going to be difficult when regulators are craven enough to simply use the excuse that they "don't want to stand in the way of innovation". It would seem that no law breaking is egregious enough to justify halting the mighty god Innovation. But the Innovation defence is, unfortunately, not any defence for the drivers themselves. As agents of Innovation, they find themselves to be legal cannon fodder.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Good on Uber and all the persons involved, its your organisation you choose to work with, so all this bulls^^^t Uber puts on reflect on all its personnel. Ben are they still side steping that court action of yours.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Displaying what's becoming a familiar arrogance, Uber says it will ignore the California DMV's demand that they seek an autonomous vehicle testing permit for their self-driving cars.

    While Simon Bridges proved to be a naive walkover for Uber, I'm not sure the San Fran authorities will feel so well-disposed towards a company which actively chooses to break the law.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Alfie,

    It just Uber saying "we do not intend to agree to any regulations especially those that may prevent us from being controled in anyway" Looks like Simon Bridges has been given more power to fuck things up even more in the new line up under Bill English.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Ben are they still side steping that court action of yours.

    I can't speak in too much detail, since the cases are sub judice, but so far there have been 3 adjournments. Uber sought the first one at the last minute, and the drivers sought their own ones in the second two cases.

    In the first case, it was because of a total lack of disclosure on Uber's part - the driver was unwilling to argue against an unknown case, unknown evidence, and unknown parties that would attend.

    In the second case, a lengthy pre-hearing was held (they were in there for several hours). Uber sent Richard Menzies and a lawyer they had flown over from Sydney, who trundled in an actual suitcase full of files. This was into the Disputes Tribunal, in which lawyers may not actually be present. Uber laid their hand of cards on the table, finally. It was revealed that they have spent a great deal of time taking the NZUDA very seriously, and at great cost. They argued that the adjournments had cost them a lot of money, but I expect the referee was not impressed since they are in a small claims court over small amounts of money, so the ridiculousness of the situation must have been manifest. For what reason is a lengthy legal preparation and flying in a lawyer from overseas necessary in a matter of a few thousand dollars? That the NZUDA has never received any contact whatsoever from Uber was also unlikely to have been lost on the referee.

    It's worth noting that there are significant differences in all the cases that have so far gone forward, so each one will need to be addressed individually. Uber's one silver bullet is the claim that the complainants are going after the wrong party, that the NZ operation is not responsible, despite being a wholly owned subsidiary of the operation they would like to refer the case to, employing the only people that Uber even has in NZ. For this reason, they are seeking to not even have the cases heard at all. However, of course, it could be argued that this IS the main defense, and that therefore a hearing is the place for the evidence either way to actually be heard.

    My understanding is that where the claim is over contract breach, the question is about who the contract the driver had is actually with. I think that if it is ever pinned on the NZ operation, it will be by virtue of an oral contract.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Well Uber has gone to a great deal of time and expense when all they needed to do was to reactivate any driver who pushed the issue, especially with Uber's very lose contractual arrangements, LOL

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

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