Lyft says drivers tampering with surge pricing could be booted

Darth Vuber

Well-Known Member
By
SOO YOUN
and CHRISTINE THEODOROU
May 17, 2019, 6:40 PM ET

Rideshare drivers who tamper with surge pricing will face being deactivated after a report revealed that rideshare drivers at a Washington D.C. airport coordinated to boost fares, Lyft said.
The statement came after a report from ABC affiliate WJLA alleging that Lyft and Uber drivers at Reagan National Airport organized to turn off their apps until the prices for rides surged enough to deem the fares worthwhile.

"All the airplanes, we know when they land. So five minutes before, we turn all our apps off — all of us at the same time," one driver, who did not want to identified, told WJLA on camera. "All of us, we turn our apps off. They surge $10, $12, sometimes $19. Then we turn our app on. Everyone will get the surge.”
The drivers who spoke to WJLA said they hack surge pricing because their pay has gotten so low they can't cover expenses.

"Uber doesn’t pay us enough. What the company is doing is defrauding all these people by taking 35% to 40%," one driver, who did not want to identified, told WJLA. On camera, the other drivers agreed.

“They are taking all this money because there’s no system of accountability,” another unidentified driver said.
Last week, Lyft and Uber drivers around the world went "on strike" by turning off their apps for part or all of the day on May 8 to protest low pay, lack of employee status and benefits, and other working conditions that varied from city to city. Two days later, the company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.
The practice of manipulating surge pricing is not necessarily new, said Lior Zalmanson, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel who researches the ridesharing economy. His team studied rideshare drivers from 2016 to 2017.

"Back then, we found some incidents where drivers attempted to coordinate online and create surges by avoiding certain areas, thus creating a shortage of drivers, which leads to an increase in prices," Zalmanson told ABC News

Interestingly, the surge hacking was not denied by Drive United, an ad hoc union for rideshare drivers.

"For years, our wages have been declining, resulting in many drivers being unable to afford health insurance or to feed their families. Just last week, drivers in Washington D.C. and around the world protested to demand a living wage from rideshare corporations," Drive United told ABC News in a statement.

"With that demand still unanswered, it should surprise no one that drivers are finding ways to work together within Uber and Lyft’s terms to make enough money to cover their basic needs. We encourage the media to look deeper into Uber and Lyft’s unsustainable business model and the difficulties drivers face every day," Drive United continued.

In a statement, Lyft told ABC News, "Lyft takes any allegations of fraudulent behavior very seriously as it violates our community guidelines and can lead to deactivation from the Lyft platform."
Lyft also took issue with complaints of low pay, saying most drivers make on average $20 per hour.

Uber told ABC News that “this behavior is neither widespread or permissible on the Uber platform, and we have technical safeguards in place to help prevent it from happening.”

Zalmanson agreed, saying "only the Uber company can detect these patterns for (something close to) certain. Given their machine learning capabilities, I would have to assume they might know when a surge feels produced and when it isn't."
He added that there are reasons that drivers may feel compelled to take matters into their own hands.

"When drivers feel isolated from both company and peers, when they feel the company calls them 'partners' but keeps increasing their [company] commission.

When they feel the system is an opaque black box whose choices they can’t understand, and they interpret it as if it tries to hurt their wages — it sometimes ends up in them regaining a sense of control by attempting to game the system for their benefit," Zalmanson said. "It’s not always the case of course, and with Uber’s
strict surveillance, there’s not a lot they can do... but they do try."
 

New2This

Well-Known Member
I've been in the Reagan Airport lot and it's coordinated like synchronized swimming. The drivers at BWI Airport have just started doing this since this story aired.

There's not much (under the current rules) they can do. There's no test or special permit for airports like (from my reading here) you guys have at LAX. They don't have a requirement to be online while in the lot. If the cops did check to see if you have your app on, easy to have Lyft on until Uber hits a decent Surge.

I would assume Uber helped with the story since drivers got so much positive press the last few weeks, so make drivers look like the bad guys.
 

hulksmash

Well-Known Member
There's not much (under the current rules) they can do. There's no test or special permit for airports like (from my reading here) you guys have at LAX. They don't have a requirement to be online while in the lot. If the cops did check to see if you have your app on, easy to have Lyft on until Uber hits a decent Surge.
The same thing can be done at LAX but drivers are too stupid. Just have Lyft app on with Lyft decals, and switch decals once Uber hits a decent surge. The one thing you guys have going for you guys with the flat surge is you’re guaranteed the highest rate you catch, whereas being online with the multiplier doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it.

I wish LAX drivers were as coordinated but in their defense not everyone will get the high multiplier. With flat surge it seems no queue jumping tricks needed, just be logged in at the right time.
 

LAWeasel

Well-Known Member
The same thing can be done at LAX but drivers are too stupid. Just have Lyft app on with Lyft decals, and switch decals once Uber hits a decent surge. The one thing you guys have going for you guys with the flat surge is you’re guaranteed the highest rate you catch, whereas being online with the multiplier doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it.

I wish LAX drivers were as coordinated but in their defense not everyone will get the high multiplier. With flat surge it seems no queue jumping tricks needed, just be logged in at the right time.
Flat is bassackwards. That's when you want those shorties to the car rental places on Bellanaca.

Imagine that -- drive flat up to 30 bucks or so and 2/3 of all the trips are less than 10 miles. That's what needs to be done to abolish the abomination and go back to multiplier where sensible mathematics can be employed by both drivers and uber/Lyft.

We really need all of LA coordinated, not just LAX. I can't understand why any X driver is willing to take anything less than 1.3 (and more like 1.6) after the rate cuts.
 
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Breezze

Well-Known Member
LAX has too many Select drivers occupying the queue .. X driver become bottom feeder when multiplier goes up ... they never get to the front of the queue ... out of frustration, they take rematch and base rate with short wait time
 

zidane00

Active Member
LAX has too many Select drivers occupying the queue .. X driver become bottom feeder when multiplier goes up ... they never get to the front of the queue ... out of frustration, they take rematch and base rate with short wait time
LAX is weird.

Today, a pax told me he struggled for 20 minutes to get an Uber yesterday from LAX around 5pm. The app tried to search for drivers, but couldn’t find any. When I explained that there are hundreds of drivers at LAX literally just waiting for a passenger, he looked at me like I talked crazy.
 

XUBERANT

Well-Known Member
Wow what happens when Lyft tampers with surge ??? This today ....

As you can see I'm in PT SURGELAND..... so is the rider or pax... possible rematch... but that's not my problem....

20190517_231809.jpg
20190517_231639.jpg
 

LoveBC

Well-Known Member
LAX is weird.

Today, a pax told me he struggled for 20 minutes to get an Uber yesterday from LAX around 5pm. The app tried to search for drivers, but couldn’t find any. When I explained that there are hundreds of drivers at LAX literally just waiting for a passenger, he looked at me like I talked crazy.
Damn... such a hard struggle to swipe one finger one centimeter down the screen to one of the other ten ride options.....

Much difficult, such hard.
 

RUSSREED2.0

Well-Known Member
LAX is weird.

Today, a pax told me he struggled for 20 minutes to get an Uber yesterday from LAX around 5pm. The app tried to search for drivers, but couldn’t find any. When I explained that there are hundreds of drivers at LAX literally just waiting for a passenger, he looked at me like I talked crazy.
False flag... she’s not telling you, they cancel on 4 drivers so as not to pay surge..
 

Breezze

Well-Known Member
LAX is weird.

Today, a pax told me he struggled for 20 minutes to get an Uber yesterday from LAX around 5pm. The app tried to search for drivers, but couldn’t find any. When I explained that there are hundreds of drivers at LAX literally just waiting for a passenger, he looked at me like I talked crazy.
Maybe he is trying to get a pool?
 

Uruber

Well-Known Member
So let me see if I understand this. I am a self contractor running my business and I can't seek the payment that I think my time, use of vehicle and expenses is worth it? and instead I have to take whatever money you want to pay me devaluating my work, tools and expences?? Lol Uber and Lyft you should try some stand ups as comedians. You do not get to tell me how to run my business because I am not your employee.
What do you call when the pax instead to take the price you offering them base on demand and supply and they keep switching between apps trying to avoid paying your price? Isn't that tampering with the surge as well? Are you going to deactivated the riders for seeking what is best for them as well....what a joke lol

PS: I do not understand how drivers can be so patient and wait for hours in the Q, I try it once when I was new and after 20 minutes I left, I can't stay still for long, but if no drivers would actually wait over there in the Lot then all the time you would have a much much higher surge in the airport than what you do now even with some of them tampering with the surge anyways.
 
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OC-Moe

Well-Known Member
corporate avarice, arrogance, and tomfoolery. trying to regulate the games drivers play to maximize pay is hella stupid considering drivers have very little pricing power in the rideshare market.
 
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