Looking for Austin to drivers to give views for BBC story

Dave Lee BBC

New Member
Hi all --

I'm working on a BBC radio story about Uber's problems in London. My piece is looking at what happened in Austin when Uber pulled out... and what happened when it came back again.

I'm looking to speak to drivers who have experience with Fasten/RideAustin etc - as well as with Uber and Lyft now they are back. I'm keen to get an idea of how the driving community feels about the dispute - and whether a city can have a strong ride-sharing economy without Uber and Lyft.

I'd be looking to chat for around 10 minutes. Happy to use first names only.

You can reach me on dave DOT lee AT bbc DOT co DOT uk (sorry, it won't let me post my email address fully) ... or I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.

Cheers

Dave

BBC News, San Francisco
 

Jay Dean

Well-Known Member
I wasn't driving at the time but if I recall all the apps didn't work well (or at all in some cases) duing SXSW, other drivers on here can verify that in more detail
 

Tex Tile

Active Member
I wasn't driving at the time but if I recall all the apps didn't work well (or at all in some cases) duing SXSW, other drivers on here can verify that in more detail
The apps worked quite well and this is evidenced by the fact that they are still working. There were crunch times at peak hours of SXSW just like there are crunch times with Uber at NYE, etc.
 

TNCMinWage

Well-Known Member
I wasn't driving at the time but if I recall all the apps didn't work well (or at all in some cases) duing SXSW, other drivers on here can verify that in more detail

Here is my opinion, you'll get plenty of opposing views I'm sure.

Life when Uber/Lyft left Austin was better. We had/still have two local TNC's operating in Austin that pay 25% better than U/L at standard fare. It was a fairer wage. I could make the argument that the pay still sucked and was unfair (ie, passengers save 60% on taxis and get better service while drivers didn't make much profit at standard rates), but it was at least fairer. Now that U/L has returned, driving pretty much sucks. U/L has flooded the market with drivers and will continue to do so, making getting rides even tougher. They have bought customers off to switch them over to U/L. There still remain many Austinites that support our local TNC's, as drivers like myself spread awareness of how unfair U/L pay is.

Some of the newer U/L drivers think they are happy because they are "busier" - but many don't realize the rides are less profitable after giving up an additional 25% to U/L, and after having to give more rides (thereby driving up their operating costs), just to make the same amount they would've cleared via our local TNC's. Ask any new U/L driver what their operating costs are, and most have no clue. Many don't realize they could've made more driving for our local TNC's, some of them lived in a box and didn't even realize the local TNC's operated here for the past year and a half. And some of those drivers are happy with U/L's return because they were unable to pass the additional security checks our TNC's mandated.

As far as outages during SXSW, the local TNC's had a hiccup with a massive spike in demand one rainy evening. If I recall, Lyft just had an outage last weekend so the argument that the "big guys" tech is more stable is moot.

Bottom line, London would be better off with U/L's departure, and a fairer paying TNC replaces them like the did in Austin for the past year+.
 

Tex Tile

Active Member
Here is my opinion, you'll get plenty of opposing views I'm sure.

Life when Uber/Lyft left Austin was better. We had/still have two local TNC's operating in Austin that pay 25% better than U/L at standard fare. It was a fairer wage. I could make the argument that the pay still sucked and was unfair (ie, passengers save 60% on taxis and get better service while drivers didn't make much profit at standard rates), but it was at least fairer. Now that U/L has returned, driving pretty much sucks. U/L has flooded the market with drivers and will continue to do so, making getting rides even tougher. They have bought customers off to switch them over to U/L. There still remain many Austinites that support our local TNC's, as drivers like myself spread awareness of how unfair U/L pay is.

Some of the newer U/L drivers think they are happy because they are "busier" - but many don't realize the rides are less profitable after giving up an additional 25% to U/L, and after having to give more rides (thereby driving up their operating costs), just to make the same amount they would've cleared via our local TNC's. Ask any new U/L driver what their operating costs are, and most have no clue. Many don't realize they could've made more driving for our local TNC's, some of them lived in a box and didn't even realize the local TNC's operated here for the past year and a half. And some of those drivers are happy with U/L's return because they were unable to pass the additional security checks our TNC's mandated.

As far as outages during SXSW, the local TNC's had a hiccup with a massive spike in demand one rainy evening. If I recall, Lyft just had an outage last weekend so the argument that the "big guys" tech is more stable is moot.

Bottom line, London would be better off with U/L's departure, and a fairer paying TNC replaces them like the did in Austin for the past year+.
Accurate.

Isn't it amazing how many people (riders and drivers) didn't know or barely knew about the replacement apps!? I've had numerous people say "I bet you're happy that Uber is back" or "What did you do when they were gone?" or "I'm thinking about driving now that Uber is back". To all of which my response is....WHAT!!!??? Like voting for Trump it's just another example of how blind and uninformed people can be. (Sorry...Had to!!) :-)
 

Jay Dean

Well-Known Member
I am pro local TNCs 100%, only reason I brought up the apps crash is to see a well rounded story about what happened here so it can be avoided anywhere else,(hopefully) the reality is, companies will flock to make a buck...and in turn will leave pax stranded during high demand if they do not have the tech to support demand... and just say "sorry" or whatever later, I talked to a few drivers that said the same thing about NYE, they gave up their night just to sit around and listen to crickets..just saying, that was then, and drivers could really be in for a wake up call if they think new companies can just fill the shoes for pings for them to make money..which is why we are even doing this to begin with.
 
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TNCMinWage

Well-Known Member
I am pro local TNCs 100%, only reason I brought up the apps crash is to see a well rounded story about what happened here so it can be avoided anywhere else,(hopefully) the reality is, companies will flock to make a buck...and in turn will leave pax stranded during high demand if they do not have the tech to support demand... and just say "sorry" or whatever later, I talked to a few drivers that said the same thing about NYE, they gave up their night just to sit around and listen to crickets..just saying, that was then, and drivers could really be in for a wake up call if they think new companies can just fill the shoes for pings for them to make money..which is why we are even doing this to begin with.

I hear you, but the reality is every one of these TNC's is prone to tech outages. Like I said, Lyft had an outage last Saturday - and it wasn't even NYE nor SXSW!! It was just some random Saturday night. So...to be fair, I don't think a big deal should be made of our local TNC's having hiccups when Lyft and Uber have had the same problems, in this particular case with Lyft on a much less busier evening.

Also - I made $500 this past NYE driving for the locals, so perhaps the drivers you spoke with threw in the towel too early, instead of hanging in there during the 45 minute outage.
 

tcc83

Well-Known Member
Glad to hear you did well on NYE. I didn't do great with FARE. Made 200ish before calling it quits. $0 in tips, which was really odd considering FARE customers usually were pretty good about tipping.
 

TNCTopher

Active Member
Fare didn't crash during SXSW. I made out well with them and GetMe on NYE.

Fare and Get didn't crash because they lacked the volume of the other apps. On NYE Fasten crashed and the spike in demand crashed R|A. Fasten never recovered that night. That first Saturday of SXSW it was R|A that crashed first and Fasten couldn't handle the spike in demand. R|A was able to recover but the damage had already been done.

God bless HB100. The Austin community is better now.
 

TNCMinWage

Well-Known Member
Fare and Get didn't crash because they lacked the volume of the other apps. On NYE Fasten crashed and the spike in demand crashed R|A. Fasten never recovered that night. That first Saturday of SXSW it was R|A that crashed first and Fasten couldn't handle the spike in demand. R|A was able to recover but the damage had already been done.

God bless HB100. The Austin community is better now.

Fasten recovered too, Topher...they both were down for roughly 45 mins to an hour. Some drivers were able to get back in, others were not perhaps?
 

Tex Tile

Active Member
God bless HB100. The Austin community is better now.[/QUOTE]

I totally disagree with this statement. The drivers are not better off. The local community is not better off having Big Brother steal and change our voter approved local ordinances. And the general lay of the land with bigger corporations being able to get what they want by squeezing or bribing our politicians, is not better off. I couldn't disagree with you more strongly in every way possible. The comment you are making is about one or two VERY isolated events over the course of a year. Other than that the apps worked pretty much perfectly and the "Austin community" was just fine.
 
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goneubering

Well-Known Member
Accurate.

Isn't it amazing how many people (riders and drivers) didn't know or barely knew about the replacement apps!? I've had numerous people say "I bet you're happy that Uber is back" or "What did you do when they were gone?" or "I'm thinking about driving now that Uber is back". To all of which my response is....WHAT!!!??? Like voting for Trump it's just another example of how blind and uninformed people can be. (Sorry...Had to!!) :-)

This shows the dominant mindshare Uber owns with the general public.
 

Tex Tile

Active Member
This shows the dominant mindshare Uber owns with the general public.
Correct. Which is why it has always been baffling that they keep rates so low and didn't allow tipping and all this other anti-driver stuff that they seemed so Terrified of offending or jeopardizing customers with. It's total nonsense. Uber customers are like rideshare zombies. You could increase rates 20% and they wouldn't even notice. And even if that was to happen (which it won't) Uber would still be 20% cheaper than cabs...which 95% of Uber riders would NEVER take again even if their life depended on it. So...it's baffling. For example....Apple. They know their value and they exploit it. Uber doesn't seem to get it.
 

TNCTopher

Active Member
God bless HB100. The Austin community is better now.

I totally disagree with this statement. The drivers are not better off. The local community is not better off having Big Brother steal and change our voter approved local ordinances. And the general lay of the land with bigger corporations being able to get what they want by squeezing or bribing our politicians, is not better off. I couldn't disagree with you more strongly in every way possible. The comment you are making is about one or two VERY isolated events over the course of a year. Other than that the apps worked pretty much perfectly and the "Austin community" was just fine.[/QUOTE]

Sorry, Tex but I was being sarcastic.

Correct. Which is why it has always been baffling that they keep rates so low and didn't allow tipping and all this other anti-driver stuff that they seemed so Terrified of offending or jeopardizing customers with. It's total nonsense. Uber customers are like rideshare zombies. You could increase rates 20% and they wouldn't even notice. And even if that was to happen (which it won't) Uber would still be 20% cheaper than cabs...which 95% of Uber riders would NEVER take again even if their life depended on it. So...it's baffling. For example....Apple. They know their value and they exploit it. Uber doesn't seem to get it.

Tipping is a variable. It is a variable that Uber has little to no control over. Let me ask you Tex, how many drivers call it a night after they get a big ride with a big tip?
 

TNCMinWage

Well-Known Member
I totally disagree with this statement. The drivers are not better off. The local community is not better off having Big Brother steal and change our voter approved local ordinances. And the general lay of the land with bigger corporations being able to get what they want by squeezing or bribing our politicians, is not better off. I couldn't disagree with you more strongly in every way possible. The comment you are making is about one or two VERY isolated events over the course of a year. Other than that the apps worked pretty much perfectly and the "Austin community" was just fine.

Sorry, Tex but I was being sarcastic.



Tipping is a variable. It is a variable that Uber has little to no control over. Let me ask you Tex, how many drivers call it a night after they get a big ride with a big tip?[/QUOTE]

Had a feeling you were being sarcastic, Topher. Stop riling everyone up now, will ya? These are trying times for us Austin drivers...!
 
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