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

278 Responses

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  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    I guess Uber will handle it in there normal way by just ignoring the regulation like all the others. LOL

    I'd guess you are right. It's not possible for me to get the answer to that. One driver has an email chain containing dozens of to and fros without getting any serious answers to the question of whether Uber pays GST. They also don't give drivers any useful information about whether they should, leaving it entirely up to you to work out. Definitely they do not give GST receipts for trips. In fact, I request a full receipt after every trip via the website and they claim not to provide this service in NZ any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Hello, has everyone gone on holiday LOL

    Well, I did, sorry about that. But whilst away, my OIA request came back about enforcement on Uber drivers and whether they are paying all the fines. I'll have to read it more carefully, but my first impression is that they really don't want to be answering my questions. Gut feeling is that the reason for that is that the lack of consequences under the law has been so embarrassingly complete as to require me to take it to the Ombudsman to really get to the bottom of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    For example when an OIA asking about fines for not displaying PSLs comes back with an obtuse statement that

    We have interpreted this to mean "display a driver ID card".

    You have to conclude they're messing with you.

    Seriously. I shit you not. They are trying to pretend not to know what I mean by displaying a PSL. This is NZTA. The people who issue the PSL. The people who have repeatedly told Uber drivers that they must display a PSL. When I ask them the question about how many people have been caught for not displaying a PSL, they are trying to pull this shit on me, pretending not to know what a PSL even is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Hi Ben and welcome back, hope you enjoyed your break.
    Display of PSLs labels, under the current act PSLs labels must be displayed on taxi service vehicles but not private hire vehicles, in the case of private hire vehicles PSL labels must be produced on demand by any enforcement officer. Hope this helps.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Of course where the problem lies Uber under the current act is operating an unlicensed taxi service not a private hire, ride share or any other discription of service that Uber gives of there non licenensed taxi service. Therefore a PSL label (and loading label) would have to be displayed.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    When they used to attempt compliance, Uber required drivers to set up as private hire services. Anyone set up like this is currently not being stopped, if they have all the compliances in place barring one. The only rule violation under those circumstances is the Operating Licensing Land Transport Rule about metering. This is the one rule that has been tested in court and the case did not result in a conviction. It is my understanding that CVIU have no will to enforce this at all. Enforcing it would amount to the “standing in the way of innovation” that NZTA frequently states that it does not want to do that.

    So yes, Ubers are like taxis. They are going for the same market of customers for the same purpose. But there are also many ways in which they are totally not like a taxi. The inability to take street hails and sit in taxi stands is the main one. The inability to take most forms of payment, including cash, is another biggie.

    Hope this helps.

    It might help me understand just how obtuse NZTA are being, for sure. I’ll seek clarification of the answers before presuming a lack of good faith, although at this point it’s really looking that way. That said, I’m not surprised. If the answer is as bad as it looks at face value then it’s a sorry tale indeed, and efforts to tar-pit anyone trying to find out the true situation would be a normal human response. It’s stink that I have to use such a channel, but I guess that’s what happens when a bureaucratic organization has something to hide. They hide it in the way they know best, behind a wall of tedious finicky detail and lengthy mandatory waits.

    ETA: Fortunately time is not pressing on me. I'll just keep at it, and documenting the process as it goes. It's one of those stories that just gets more embarrassing the longer it takes to get them to admit to it. It would be actually less painful for them to just tear off the sticking plaster and say outright what the trouble with enforcement is, why all the efforts to date involving large numbers of bureaucrats and enforcement officers have essentially achieved nothing. All this twisting on the hook is really a bit silly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Around and around in circles the monkey goes, that is what dealing with officals feel like. Welcome to the club Ben

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    The Taxpayers Union is pretty much a rent-a-quote for every kind of compliance drop in every part of government at every level, whether it's sensible or completely insane. And yes, that's pretty much their justification for everything. Ultimately they don't see any point in NZTA at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Hi Ben, has the day in court happened yet.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Hi Ben, has the day in court happened yet.

    No, it's mid November.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    A hush has settled over the land all has gone quiet in the world of Uber v the rest. LOL

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Singh Singh,

    why should I do P endorsement course now which is under removal in bill 173-1 , makes no sense at all. I checked Nzta several times, current legislation needs to be followed was there answer. Spending 650$ for a course which is soon to be removed...anyone facing the same issue, any way to get an exemption... cheers

    Wellington • Since Oct 2016 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Singh Singh,

    You'll still have to get a P Endorsement, but the course looks like it will be removed or streamlined. But who knows how long until the law changes? It could take a year, because the whole Land Transport Act is being overhauled everywhere. Until then, it's the law, so the reason to get one would be to:
    1. Not potentially get busted by the cops
    2. Be able to work for anyone but Uber

    That second reason is probably the more compelling one, and this post was the reason why. You could lose your job with Uber just because you have a bad week. If you're going to throw tens of thousands into your car for professional driving, the extra $400 for the P endorsement course is probably worth it.

    No, there is no way to get an exemption. Until the law changes, the law hasn't changed. The way that law changes here is a long process in which a number of changes to the proposed changes get made. Maybe they rethink it and decide to keep the P endorsement course after all. So the police can't just give you a free pass that they didn't give to the other 20,000 people driving passengers professionally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Singh Singh,

    This says it all, why bother with NZ law as after all NZ law is the law except Uber law lets you at the money without any regard to NZ Law. The question needs to be asked, by your name why have you come to this country if you don't think NZ law applies to you? Maybe because bribes are part of life elsewnhere, its not aceptable here.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to goforit,

    Please do not make assumptions about someone's residency/citizenship status from their name. Had enough of that this year, thanks.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Sacha,

    You do make a point and I apolise but I do deal with drivers on a regular basis and most days one feels like they are not in NZ but in an other part of the world where being compliant to any form of regulations is secondary to screwing others over for a dollar or two, and we all wonder why the industry moves backwards not forwards.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    To me it's a good thing Singh Singh asked that question, because it is a very valid question that anyone looking to drive for Uber might ask. Considering that the law enforcement on Uber drivers has been not very strong, and it is fairly clear that Uber covers all fines paid for non-compliance, why wouldn't someone signing up in a casual way simply not go for compliance?

    My answer comes from the space of the Uber driver's mindset, rather than an outraged competitor or public member.

    Firstly, getting busted isn't nothing, even if Uber pays the fine. Every person I've spoken to over the last few months that it has happened to has found it to be an extremely unpleasant experience. There's never anything nice about being pulled out of your car by a police officer, questioned, searched, and then handed a big fat fine and being ordered to cease and desist from your job. Then after that, going down to the Uber office to beg for them to help you, something you are completely at their mercy over. Then several months of that horrible feeling you get whenever you open anything in your mailbox that looks like official correspondence from the police and courts. You might also have your car impounded, which could end up being a very costly exercise, and again, you have to trust that Uber will pay the difference. So far, most drivers I've seen go through this wringer quit out, even if they don't technically pay the fine.

    Second, and more importantly, being compliant frees you from begging for scraps from the master. Which is precisely what working for Uber engineers your employment conditions to be. If you are totally non-compliant, there is only one shop that will employ you, and your ability to get justice from them is about the same as it would be for any other criminal enterprise. You have to go beg the boss. If you have your compliances you can immediately work for any of the other app - based services, such as Zoomy or Ezigo, or several others that are less developed but still on their way, or could go full taxi if you wanted, or drive a bus, or a limousine, or a shuttle. Compliance opens a lot of employment doors.

    But the second point only really works on any one who has an intention to do more than work for Uber for a few months. And I think this is where Uber is hardest to crack open - they actually have a business model predicated on staff churn. Most drivers just don't stay very long, because after a few hundred rides and maybe 10 or so interactions with the "support" process, they come to realize just how far down the Uber food chain drivers actually are. Also, they will finally have some evidence of just how costly running a car as a passenger service really is, and how much that affects their real actual income.

    They have a machine in place that can sign up hundreds of drivers a week. Losing drivers is a normal, even expected, part of the way they do business. I think it's important that prospective drivers know this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Singh Singh, in reply to BenWilson,

    Thanks Ben, when checking online the course fee comes 680$ inclusive GST.

    I signed in this forum to seek information as am new to this industry. Soon will be on road once am fully compliant. Cheers

    Note - Our views can be submitted as online submissions, I raised one :) .
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/00DBHOH_BILL69924_1/land-transport-amendment-bill

    Wellington • Since Oct 2016 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Singh Singh,

    When you do the course you will come across a section detailing the 5 different catergories of Small Passenger Service, now like all Uber drivers just completely ignore this section as it puts the Uber Service in conflict with the Transport Act. LOL.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Singh Singh,

    Autonomous car, from fiction to practical reality. The industry is really getting advanced, by 2020 driver will be available to take over controls, by 2025 the car is on its own. Reference from,

    http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/technology/specific-transport-technologies/road-vehicle/autonomous-vehicles/

    Wellington • Since Oct 2016 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Singh Singh,

    Or, then again, maybe that won't happen. At the moment it's still science fiction, like putting people on Mars. Which is why the government puts big question marks after those dates. Also, the dotted line "regulatory change required" puts a huge uncertainty on even being able to do trials. It has to actually go through a willing parliament.

    The big danger with the phase that lets the vehicle take complete control is that exactly what happened in the self-driving fatality on record happens. The driver isn't watching and the automated system drives him straight under a truck on the motorway, because of a bug.

    In the end, the really big question in all of this is just "why"? What does it really save, for all of that engineering effort? Aren't there many, many better solutions to transport issues than trying to reinvent the human brain and executive decision making function, changing our entire legal framework, and risking a whole lot of automated death? What is so horribly inefficient about having a human driver?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to BenWilson,

    ... and risking a whole lot of automated death? What is so horribly inefficient about having a human driver?

    Manual death.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

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