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Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver

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  • goforit,

    Ben. What you see on ponsonby rd is not the taxi industry it's the dregs of the industry. Fares can only be refused for specific reasons. When a taxi driver down a small hire they are turning down profit. There is more many in short jobs than long ones. Tell you more later

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    hi again, price is the main factor the less they spend on transport the more they can spend elsewhere, this is human nature, you may have noticed (thats before the price drop) when Uber is surge pricing the Uber work nearly stops and 15 mintues after the normal fares return the work kicks back in. When surging is in effect the telephones in taxi dispatch centres go crazy.
    I know this from experience i have worked with Uber in the past and have always operated private hire and taxi services, the best return is a mixture of both. when Uber first started the rate was $1.50/km and this was hopeless and not really working, when it was lifted to$2.00/km Uber work profit after expenses was approx' 0.70c per km. When mixed with taxi work on a ratio of 3 taxi jobs to 10 Uber jobs the return after expenses jumped up to approx. $1.80 per km. Expenses I mean every thing, depreciation, insurance, fuel a GST anf provisional taxes.
    Ben talking about taxes did you get the point I made you are not responsible for the payment of any taxes as thats the responsibilty of the PSL holder. running costs do vary but allow $1.00 per km plus or minus 0.10c

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Fares can only be refused for specific reasons

    Yes, anyone with a P Endorsement got taught this.

    When a taxi driver down a small hire they are turning down profit. There is more many in short jobs than long ones. Tell you more later

    You don't need to, that's already how I operate every time. 80% of my trips are minimum fare. I get $4 currently (before costs).

    But keep it coming, sir! I think this business of making taxis the enemy has been an important part of disempowering the Uber drivers. We don't even have our most natural ally on our side.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    when Uber is surge pricing the Uber work nearly stops and 15 mintues after the normal fares return the work kicks back in.

    Absolutely. The canny passengers know to wait surges out. Drivers flock extremely rapidly and the surge dies, then they book at normal rates.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Ben talking about taxes did you get the point I made you are not responsible for the payment of any taxes as thats the responsibilty of the PSL holder

    Can I ask you to email me? Use the little envelope icon to get my address. Really keen to discuss this further. Keep it going on here too!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I see the Victorian* cab monopoly is fighting back. With limited success.

    (Cab licenses in Melbourne go for several hundred thousand - not surprisingly, getting a cab is near impossible).

    * Place not era. Although in the case of cabs, place *and* era.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Ben what you need to do is to think of UBer work as fill in work and look to the other sectors of the passenger transport service to buld up the more profitable work, use one to off set the other. but until you have your own PSL no one will ever give you work as an exsistinfg ATO/private services faces fines up to $250,000.00 if they do.
    I guess you are aware the taxi industry is close to releasing an app to rival the Uber one that will further reduce Ubers proftl levels.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A public ballot in Austin, Texas represses Uber and Lyft services somehow by requiring driver fingerprints. I don't quite grasp the logic.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Which logic? The public logic in requiring fingerprints to be collected, or the private logic in deciding to remove all services from Austin because the public voted on a law in a way they didn't like?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Hi, I guess which side of the fence you sit on, protecting the public or just letting anyone have access to the public. Strange isn't it? When ever Uber is forced to follow the regulations in any given area they just stop their service.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Well, they threaten to, anyway. It might be a bluff worth calling in NZ, since up until 3 weeks ago, there was hardly any trouble with compliance at all. This is a manufactured crisis. In reality there was and still is no shortage of people willing to take on the compliance costs. But they just want to grow far faster than that, by racing to the bottom all of a sudden.

    A retraction of this arbitrary move will just mean their business model goes back to the more usual one of phenomenal growth with a reasonably happy worker base helping them disrupt the taxi industry. A failure to retract it is already leading to a drop in quality, worker disgruntlement, public distrust, regulators coming down hard on the less compliant workers, as they buy market share with the wages of the staff.

    I think that pushed back hard enough, they will retract. If they don't, I think that NZ would be honestly better off without them. A gaping vacuum would open in the market for a homegrown solution, with a work-ready force of drivers right there. They could kiss that away in pique if they like, the kind of faux outrage that powerful people always display when asked to follow the commoner's laws. I don't buy it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    In principal you are right Ben, but the reality of it Uber does not want any regulation at all, if they where to back down especialy here in NZ where the taxi industry is already an open shop it sets an presidint that would effect there world wide fight to stuff up the taxi industry. They are now on the back foot by their actions and they know they are. The Nz Govenment is not actually concerned about the plight of the drivers but they are very concerned about all the tax avoidance that is going on due to Uber and there unaccountabiltiy of income by not being respossible towards regulation.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    I been watching the Uber app for the past week and I see they are playing a game called put the carrot in front of the driver with continually moving the surge around Auckland, I seed cars racing to the surge area and when they reach the area the surge stops, then they surge another arera and the cars are on the move again.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The tax avoidance is easily dealt with - there are already a bunch of activities where the IRD requires the employer to withhold tax from contractors - they just add taxi driving/"ridesharing" to this list.

    If Uber then refuse to pay, then they instruct the banks (there's probably a law somewhere that lets them do this, or they could pass one) to block them from receiving credit card payments from NZ customers.

    Which would be a pity, because it's a good idea to have an efficient personal transport service (and given the pricing on Uber now, it's actually growing the pot, as two people on Uber is cheaper than a bus ride, at least here in Wellington).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yup, it's a bit of a conundrum for public transport that Uber has got so cheap that it's actually less costly to a customer to get picked up and driven 2 at a time into the city than to get in a bus, with all the farting around before and after that involves.

    But, on the flipside, it's also a sign that Uber is way too cheap. My next post is going to be on this, after I get a tiny bit of breathing space from the most insane couple of weeks of my life. Suffice to say, the fan is about to get soiled. Watch this space.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Hi Rich, there are two problems with that idea, firstly even you as a Uber must do the odd job outside the Uber app and therfore no record especially if its a cash job so withholding tax can become a problem, secondly Uber to come under such a regulation would require them to be regristered in this country. Don't fpr getr Uber is avoiding company tax at the moment. Being an ATO makes them liable to follow NZ law.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • goforit, in reply to BenWilson,

    Ben look forward to your forthcoming statements

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to goforit,

    So Uber isn’t charging GST? I can’t find any reference to this on invoices (so if they are charging GST, it’s illegal).

    I suspect the IRD is going to drop a very large bucket of poo on them. Not a tax expert, but I think the revenue would have no difficulty dipping into their credit card receivables (which will generally go through NZ banks).

    I would not rely on Uber still being in business in NZ a year from now. Unless they bribe John Key.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    When I was with Uber their statements at that time just "Tax included" mind you that could have mean't anything, I was under the impression that all their transactions where GST included. Due to that fact plus I am GST regristered I paid GST on their work as well as my other work. Tax liability covers move than just GST
    Anyway with your poor profit now generated your tax liabilites would be close to zero.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I can get a GST invoice on older trips from the rider portal. But any recent trips give an error message like this: "We are still working on generating an invoice for this trip. Please check again later. If you still require support regarding invoices please press the button below to have a support ticket automatically created. We will then contact you as soon as possible."

    My understanding is that their policy on GST changed with the bundle of changes I bring up in this blog. It's so confusing, with so many conflicted stories being told left, right, and center, that I don't want to make any real statements other than "I can't get a proper GST invoice at the moment".

    Certainly I pay GST on my earnings. No question about that. Whether Uber pay any on theirs is up to the IRD to investigate. They certainly charge it, I know that much. Well, they used to, anyway.

    The idea that you have to make a support call to get your invoice? O...Kay... Let's see how that one goes down with corporate riders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Under NZ taxation regs, if a business has a turnover of $50,000.00 per year or more GST has to be applied. Uber definally has a turnover in excess of $50,000.00 per year, therefore it has to account for GST. It has nothing to do with how they descripe their busness, ride share, taxi or what ever. Contractors working under Uber therefore because GST is a conpoment of the price have to account for the GST, the fact the contractor may of a turnnover under the $50,000.00 per year does not mean the contractor is excempt from accounting for GST

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    I get this response automatically to my request in the rider portal to get an invoice:

    "If you’re in New Zealand:

    For uberX rides costing less than $50, tax invoices are not required by the Inland Revenue Department. If your ride does cost more than $50 or it is for business expense purposes, keep in mind that many organisations are now starting to accept uberX receipts as part of their company expense policy. However, if this is not the case for you, we do apologise for the inconvenience as not all partners will have a GST number. At this stage you will only be able to download your receipt for your ride by logging into your rider profile on riders.uber.com.

    Every trip is done with a different driver partner, so we aren't able to consolidate receipts as each driver partner is a different independent contractor."


    Which is rather ironic because it was attempting to download the receipt from the riders.uber.com that actually triggered this message.

    So they do apologize for the inconvenience that you can't get a GST receipt.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    they are very wrong, if a customer requests a GST receit it must be given, under the $50.00 dollar mark an ordinary receit is acceptable by the IRD, but as said if the customer requests a GST one is has to be given. Uber is really pushing the envelope on all fronts.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to goforit,

    Yup. Their response that they're "still working on generating an invoice" is a little bit laughable when we all know it's a computer generated thing that comes instantaneously. Furthermore, it's not code that needs to be written. It's code that they would have had to unwrite to get it to stop sending the invoices that were normal before. In fact, I can still get them, now, for the older trips.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • goforit,

    Now you see why there are P endorsments, PSL and Ato's in the system, Uber is trying to get every thing hidden from the authories, that is NZTA, Nz Police, IRD, WINZ etc. there has to be identification and responsibilites. The taxi industry has these fly by nighters who think they don't have to declare anything but when ever anyone from those organisations enquire information cannot be held back. I would not be suprised if Uber has a go to get rego plates removed to further hide who is who.

    Auckland • Since May 2016 • 314 posts Report Reply

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