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Uber customer pricing & why it matters that we know what it is

Why it matters what Uber customers pay

1578519004919.png


Uber and Lyft are now trying to hide what the customers (pax) pay from the drivers. Uber has made the disclosure screen oversized so that taking screenshots with 100% of the information (on one screen) is now impossible. Lyft has gone off the deep end and completely removed the information from drivers.

Some drivers say, So What? Why does it matter? After all, we agreed to drive for a specific amount of money, regardless of what the passenger pays, right? Does the WalMart cashier care how much profit is made when they ring up the items? Does the Taco Bell cook care how much the customer is getting charged when they insert the meat-like substance into the tortilla? Of course not! (Then again, those people are employees, and do not have to bear any expenses in the course of doing their job.)

There are MANY reasons why full disclosure matters. Here we go…


Drivers tips sometimes are affected by customer pricing

When customers pay more (in ride hailing scenarios), they tend to tip less. This is not always true, of course, but the perception has been sewn into society that the driver makes 75% of the fare. Why is this a problem? When a pax believes that the majority of their money (for the ride) is being paid to the driver, they often tip less. In economics there is a term called “trickle down”, which means that money trickles down from one entity to another and another as it is spent over and over. In theory, more money spent on a ride means more money for the driver, which means more for the local economy. But in our reality, more money spent on a ride simply means more money for Uber and Lyft, with nothing extra for the driver. But the customer doesn’t know this!

[ Note: this may change in CA in the coming weeks, but as of this writing the Upfront Pricing is still the way things are everywhere. ]

The damage to the driver comes when a passenger believes the driver is getting the lion’s share of what is being paid for the ride. If someone is paying $15 for a really short ride, and they think that they should only be paying $10, then they might believe that the driver is making a lot more than they really are. On a typical $15 ride, if the driver is taking home 75% (which is what the companies advertise that we make), then the driver is doing pretty well. The truth is, the driver is lucky to pull in $4 or $5 on a short ride. As a result, the pax are likely to not bother tipping, because they believe the driver already gotten paid $10+.

Personally, I have seen the overall volume of riders who tip drop dramatically over the past year, from roughly 40% to around 20%. My service level has not changed (as far as I can tell). I am still consistently rated 4.9+ on both platforms, and most people leave my vehicle with a smile on their face and the words “Thank you” coming from their lips. Yet, tips are down overall, and I blame price increases for my decrease in pay.


Uber and Lyft are lying to the world about how much drivers make, and need to be called on their BS

This lie is continually being perpetuated by Uber (and Lyft). They claim that “driver payments” are roughly 75% of the gross, but they do not break it down. The term “driver payments” might include sign-on bonuses, surge payments, quest payments, cancel fees, arbitration and lawsuit settlements, attorneys fees and costs of onboarding new drivers.

As a long time driver, I know darn well that Uber and Lyft take roughly 50% of the money that comes in for themselves, on average. When I find out that I get 75% or more of a given ride, I feel lucky.

I suppose I could bury my head in the sand and not worry about it, but then I would simply be enabling the companies to continue to lie to the world. By keeping informed of the truth, and spreading it whenever I can (within reason), I feel like I am doing my part to help hold these POS companies somewhat accountable. If the truth is not spread, then the lies will continue without anything to stop them.


Surge charges are often a lie, and often illegal

The very idea of surge pricing is a simple economic concept. The customer gets charged more in order to incentivize the driver to do something that they would not do otherwise (such as drive during bar close, or after a concert, or during a snowstorm).

Claiming that a customer is paying surge because of higher demand, without actually paying some surge to the driver, is just as illegal as when Uber charged a “Safety Fee” without doing anything to enhance safety.

If the driver is not being given a surge payment, then why is a surge price being charged? I understand that companies want to charge as much as they can; that is a normal part of business. The problem I have is when the company LIES and uses surge pricing as an excuse for charging more. They claim that they ‘need’ to charge more, in order to get drivers to pick people up. But if this is not true, then the companies should be held accountable. The only way they can be held accountable is if this information is shared with the proper authorities. Hiding pax payments from the driver makes this more difficult.


Transparency is a two way street

As Independent Contractors, we are expected to bear the full cost of whatever expenses we incur. The amount of those expenses is irrelevant, as far as the companies are concerned. Why don’t the companies ask us what our operating costs are? We know that the Prius driver pays a lot less for gasoline than the Jeep Cherokee driver. Answer: Because they don’t care what our costs are. We get paid what we get paid, right?

From time to time, however, Lyft and Uber demand transparency from drivers regarding OUR operating expenses. Ask any Lyft driver about their most recent cleaning fee submission, and they will confirm that Lyft demands receipts. WHY??? What does it matter what the driver’s cost was for clean-up? If the payment for a clean-up is based on actual driver costs, then shouldn’t a customer’s ride payment (for the ride itself) be based on actual driver costs?

How do they think they can legally withhold payment (for a cleaning fee) if we don’t show our expenses, costs, etc, yet they refuse to provide us with pax payment information?

Seems to me that they have crossed the legal line with this one. Drivers are (legally) a business entity, brought into the mix as Independent Contractors. If Lyft and Uber are going to refuse to provide drivers with specific financial information, then they have no legal right to demand financial information in return.


Knowledge is power

Information is crucial to being able to make informed decisions. A key component to Uber and Lyft’s success is the ignorance of drivers. Drivers do not have the ability to communicate with one another en masse; if we did, we would form ad hoc groups and execute exceptionally potent strikes from time to time, which would benefit all drivers in that market in the long run. The goal of the strikes? Higher pay and better working conditions!

By taking away more and more information, the company’s goal is to create a state of mind for drivers where Ignorance is Bliss. They want drivers to simply pick people up and drop them off without questioning anything. Automated cars are a dream for the companies – an automated vehicle will not question ANYTHING! But a human, who is responsible for their own expenses and safety, and who may have better or more profitable things to do, will question everything that they think is important to them.

If a company takes away information, then the ignorance of drivers will usually cause them to not bother questioning stuff. Here are some examples of the companies trying to manipulate drivers by taking away critical information:

* By removing the name of a business, drivers are less likely to cancel on certain pickups. You might accept a pickup from 1234 Main Street, but you might ignore the same request from that ping if it said “WalMart”.

* By taking away the physical distance to pickup (Lyft) and lying about how far away (time) a pickup really is, drivers are more likely to accept a pickup that they think is close when it is really not.

* By stacking pings without giving other relevant information, drivers are more likely to simply take that next ride, instead of considering that perhaps the area might be surging or even busier than usual, and they should be getting paid surge or that there might be a closer ride available.

* By not showing the destination in the request, drivers take a chance with every ride request; not knowing if they are getting a short ride, long ride, rides to the dangerous parts of town, rides out of the territory, rides to slow areas, rides to drive thrus and back, etc.

1578519035102.png


I dunno about you, but I’m not big on rides to or from the ghetto. It sure would be nice if that information was present when the ride is offered (pinged). More information = good for drivers. [ Destination discrimination is real. So is getting robbed or shot in bad neighborhoods. ]

As humans, if we believe something is important, we will question it. The fact that the companies are intentionally hiding passenger payment information from the drivers should tell you that this information is important!!!

Knowledge of what your costs are AND of what the passenger is willing to pay is crucial to deciding how much you should charge for your services. We are legally allowed to set our own prices. There is 96% turnover of drivers each year, and the primary reason is because of low pay. This facet of the discussion starts to blend into a different legal argument (Price Fixing). I will try to keep it simple and stay on topic…


Price fixing

As Independent Contractors, we are ALL required to set our own prices. I set my price for giving rides, returning lost items, cleaning up vomit, waiting at a store, driving to pick up a pax, etc. You also set your own prices. Every Independent Contractor driver in the United States, by law, sets their own prices, whether they know it or not.

If my price is equal to or lower than what Uber is willing to pay, then Uber will send me business. As a result, all active driver’s prices (in a given market) are equal to what Uber is willing to pay. Is your price higher than what Uber will pay? If so, then I guess you aren’t driving. When your prices come down to what Uber is willing to pay you, then you turn the app back on and you will get pings.

Forcing every driver to set the exact same price as everyone else (in their market) is called Price Fixing and is illegal in the United States. The Department of Justice is looking into it, but the wheels of justice move much slower than corporate America.

[ An extension of this is Price Fixing on the passenger end. It seems amazing that both companies have the exact same Rate Card in almost every single market. How is that even possible? Sure, they manipulate the end user prices based on what they think they can get away with, but the official rates that they charge (the Rate Card) is the same as their competition’s. In every US market. ILLEGAL. ]

As an Independent Contractor, I want FULL INFORMATION regarding my costs and what the customer is willing to pay, in order to be able to set my prices accordingly. Without this information, I am just driving around, blindly accepting whatever the company said they will pay.

Is it possible that I might have access to this information and still set my prices at this (low paying) level? Yes, anything is possible, right? But without this information, how am I supposed to be able to make an informed decision? How am I supposed to be able to compete with all the other Independent Contractors (drivers) out there? Economically, if market prices are set by supply and demand (Economics 101), then I need to know what the supply and demand are, in order to set my prices! Knowing what a potential customer is willing to pay is CRUCIAL to being able to set my own price.

Proof of these illegal actions needs to be shared with the various authorities and regulators on an ongoing basis. It’s not like Uber and Lyft and going to voluntarily give up information to any TNC authorities or the DOJ; drivers need to be able to provide this info when asked. Drivers also need to be able to provide it to the news media, in order to keep the stories active and alive.


Taxation and Legalities

This is a fun one: Lyft and Uber claim that they do nothing more than set up the business relationship between the driver and the rider. They claim to the IRS that the driver collects 100% of the money, and then they take their share from the driver.

This is all a lie, obviously. First of all, if the driver collects 100% of the money from the rider, then why doesn’t it hit the driver’s bank account?

Second, how can a driver collect 100% of the money from the rider if the driver doesn’t even know how much the rider is charged? If the driver is legally required to collect 100% of the money from the customer, then shouldn’t they know how MUCH to collect? And shouldn’t the driver do the collecting, somehow?

1578519055693.png


Seems to me that Uber and Lyft are involved in tax fraud on a massive level, at least in the US of A. Even with the new TOS addendum that Uber forced everyone to sign, they are still acting illegally when it comes to this subject.


Summary

Some drivers don’t care what Uber takes, and that’s fine. Some people say “if you don’t like it, then just quit”; I have responses to that, however that is a different discussion for a different day. This article is about WHY the information is important, regardless of why people continue to drive.

I suppose if I were a new driver and didn’t know that Uber or Lyft were doing anything wrong, or didn’t care, this job would be much less stressful. But I do know, and I do care.

1578519069775.png


Many drivers care, but feel powerless to make Uber and Lyft change (I know I feel this way). If you are someone who cares about this issue, keep spreading the word! From time to time we pick up people who DO have authority or connections, and we CAN make a difference.

Be safe.
 
Mr T

UberLyftDriverGuy

Active Member
Why it matters what Uber customers pay

View attachment 398805

Uber and Lyft are now trying to hide what the customers (pax) pay from the drivers. Uber has made the disclosure screen oversized so that taking screenshots with 100% of the information (on one screen) is now impossible. Lyft has gone off the deep end and completely removed the information from drivers.

Some drivers say, So What? Why does it matter? After all, we agreed to drive for a specific amount of money, regardless of what the passenger pays, right? Does the WalMart cashier care how much profit is made when they ring up the items? Does the Taco Bell cook care how much the customer is getting charged when they insert the meat-like substance into the tortilla? Of course not! (Then again, those people are employees, and do not have to bear any expenses in the course of doing their job.)

There are MANY reasons why full disclosure matters. Here we go…


Drivers tips sometimes are affected by customer pricing

When customers pay more (in ride hailing scenarios), they tend to tip less. This is not always true, of course, but the perception has been sewn into society that the driver makes 75% of the fare. Why is this a problem? When a pax believes that the majority of their money (for the ride) is being paid to the driver, they often tip less. In economics there is a term called “trickle down”, which means that money trickles down from one entity to another and another as it is spent over and over. In theory, more money spent on a ride means more money for the driver, which means more for the local economy. But in our reality, more money spent on a ride simply means more money for Uber and Lyft, with nothing extra for the driver. But the customer doesn’t know this!

[ Note: this may change in CA in the coming weeks, but as of this writing the Upfront Pricing is still the way things are everywhere. ]

The damage to the driver comes when a passenger believes the driver is getting the lion’s share of what is being paid for the ride. If someone is paying $15 for a really short ride, and they think that they should only be paying $10, then they might believe that the driver is making a lot more than they really are. On a typical $15 ride, if the driver is taking home 75% (which is what the companies advertise that we make), then the driver is doing pretty well. The truth is, the driver is lucky to pull in $4 or $5 on a short ride. As a result, the pax are likely to not bother tipping, because they believe the driver already gotten paid $10+.

Personally, I have seen the overall volume of riders who tip drop dramatically over the past year, from roughly 40% to around 20%. My service level has not changed (as far as I can tell). I am still consistently rated 4.9+ on both platforms, and most people leave my vehicle with a smile on their face and the words “Thank you” coming from their lips. Yet, tips are down overall, and I blame price increases for my decrease in pay.


Uber and Lyft are lying to the world about how much drivers make, and need to be called on their BS

This lie is continually being perpetuated by Uber (and Lyft). They claim that “driver payments” are roughly 75% of the gross, but they do not break it down. The term “driver payments” might include sign-on bonuses, surge payments, quest payments, cancel fees, arbitration and lawsuit settlements, attorneys fees and costs of onboarding new drivers.

As a long time driver, I know darn well that Uber and Lyft take roughly 50% of the money that comes in for themselves, on average. When I find out that I get 75% or more of a given ride, I feel lucky.

I suppose I could bury my head in the sand and not worry about it, but then I would simply be enabling the companies to continue to lie to the world. By keeping informed of the truth, and spreading it whenever I can (within reason), I feel like I am doing my part to help hold these POS companies somewhat accountable. If the truth is not spread, then the lies will continue without anything to stop them.


Surge charges are often a lie, and often illegal

The very idea of surge pricing is a simple economic concept. The customer gets charged more in order to incentivize the driver to do something that they would not do otherwise (such as drive during bar close, or after a concert, or during a snowstorm).

Claiming that a customer is paying surge because of higher demand, without actually paying some surge to the driver, is just as illegal as when Uber charged a “Safety Fee” without doing anything to enhance safety.

If the driver is not being given a surge payment, then why is a surge price being charged? I understand that companies want to charge as much as they can; that is a normal part of business. The problem I have is when the company LIES and uses surge pricing as an excuse for charging more. They claim that they ‘need’ to charge more, in order to get drivers to pick people up. But if this is not true, then the companies should be held accountable. The only way they can be held accountable is if this information is shared with the proper authorities. Hiding pax payments from the driver makes this more difficult.


Transparency is a two way street

As Independent Contractors, we are expected to bear the full cost of whatever expenses we incur. The amount of those expenses is irrelevant, as far as the companies are concerned. Why don’t the companies ask us what our operating costs are? We know that the Prius driver pays a lot less for gasoline than the Jeep Cherokee driver. Answer: Because they don’t care what our costs are. We get paid what we get paid, right?

From time to time, however, Lyft and Uber demand transparency from drivers regarding OUR operating expenses. Ask any Lyft driver about their most recent cleaning fee submission, and they will confirm that Lyft demands receipts. WHY??? What does it matter what the driver’s cost was for clean-up? If the payment for a clean-up is based on actual driver costs, then shouldn’t a customer’s ride payment (for the ride itself) be based on actual driver costs?

How do they think they can legally withhold payment (for a cleaning fee) if we don’t show our expenses, costs, etc, yet they refuse to provide us with pax payment information?

Seems to me that they have crossed the legal line with this one. Drivers are (legally) a business entity, brought into the mix as Independent Contractors. If Lyft and Uber are going to refuse to provide drivers with specific financial information, then they have no legal right to demand financial information in return.


Knowledge is power

Information is crucial to being able to make informed decisions. A key component to Uber and Lyft’s success is the ignorance of drivers. Drivers do not have the ability to communicate with one another en masse; if we did, we would form ad hoc groups and execute exceptionally potent strikes from time to time, which would benefit all drivers in that market in the long run. The goal of the strikes? Higher pay and better working conditions!

By taking away more and more information, the company’s goal is to create a state of mind for drivers where Ignorance is Bliss. They want drivers to simply pick people up and drop them off without questioning anything. Automated cars are a dream for the companies – an automated vehicle will not question ANYTHING! But a human, who is responsible for their own expenses and safety, and who may have better or more profitable things to do, will question everything that they think is important to them.

If a company takes away information, then the ignorance of drivers will usually cause them to not bother questioning stuff. Here are some examples of the companies trying to manipulate drivers by taking away critical information:

* By removing the name of a business, drivers are less likely to cancel on certain pickups. You might accept a pickup from 1234 Main Street, but you might ignore the same request from that ping if it said “WalMart”.

* By taking away the physical distance to pickup (Lyft) and lying about how far away (time) a pickup really is, drivers are more likely to accept a pickup that they think is close when it is really not.

* By stacking pings without giving other relevant information, drivers are more likely to simply take that next ride, instead of considering that perhaps the area might be surging or even busier than usual, and they should be getting paid surge or that there might be a closer ride available.

* By not showing the destination in the request, drivers take a chance with every ride request; not knowing if they are getting a short ride, long ride, rides to the dangerous parts of town, rides out of the territory, rides to slow areas, rides to drive thrus and back, etc.

View attachment 398806

I dunno about you, but I’m not big on rides to or from the ghetto. It sure would be nice if that information was present when the ride is offered (pinged). More information = good for drivers. [ Destination discrimination is real. So is getting robbed or shot in bad neighborhoods. ]

As humans, if we believe something is important, we will question it. The fact that the companies are intentionally hiding passenger payment information from the drivers should tell you that this information is important!!!

Knowledge of what your costs are AND of what the passenger is willing to pay is crucial to deciding how much you should charge for your services. We are legally allowed to set our own prices. There is 96% turnover of drivers each year, and the primary reason is because of low pay. This facet of the discussion starts to blend into a different legal argument (Price Fixing). I will try to keep it simple and stay on topic…


Price fixing

As Independent Contractors, we are ALL required to set our own prices. I set my price for giving rides, returning lost items, cleaning up vomit, waiting at a store, driving to pick up a pax, etc. You also set your own prices. Every Independent Contractor driver in the United States, by law, sets their own prices, whether they know it or not.

If my price is equal to or lower than what Uber is willing to pay, then Uber will send me business. As a result, all active driver’s prices (in a given market) are equal to what Uber is willing to pay. Is your price higher than what Uber will pay? If so, then I guess you aren’t driving. When your prices come down to what Uber is willing to pay you, then you turn the app back on and you will get pings.

Forcing every driver to set the exact same price as everyone else (in their market) is called Price Fixing and is illegal in the United States. The Department of Justice is looking into it, but the wheels of justice move much slower than corporate America.

[ An extension of this is Price Fixing on the passenger end. It seems amazing that both companies have the exact same Rate Card in almost every single market. How is that even possible? Sure, they manipulate the end user prices based on what they think they can get away with, but the official rates that they charge (the Rate Card) is the same as their competition’s. In every US market. ILLEGAL. ]

As an Independent Contractor, I want FULL INFORMATION regarding my costs and what the customer is willing to pay, in order to be able to set my prices accordingly. Without this information, I am just driving around, blindly accepting whatever the company said they will pay.

Is it possible that I might have access to this information and still set my prices at this (low paying) level? Yes, anything is possible, right? But without this information, how am I supposed to be able to make an informed decision? How am I supposed to be able to compete with all the other Independent Contractors (drivers) out there? Economically, if market prices are set by supply and demand (Economics 101), then I need to know what the supply and demand are, in order to set my prices! Knowing what a potential customer is willing to pay is CRUCIAL to being able to set my own price.

Proof of these illegal actions needs to be shared with the various authorities and regulators on an ongoing basis. It’s not like Uber and Lyft and going to voluntarily give up information to any TNC authorities or the DOJ; drivers need to be able to provide this info when asked. Drivers also need to be able to provide it to the news media, in order to keep the stories active and alive.


Taxation and Legalities

This is a fun one: Lyft and Uber claim that they do nothing more than set up the business relationship between the driver and the rider. They claim to the IRS that the driver collects 100% of the money, and then they take their share from the driver.

This is all a lie, obviously. First of all, if the driver collects 100% of the money from the rider, then why doesn’t it hit the driver’s bank account?

Second, how can a driver collect 100% of the money from the rider if the driver doesn’t even know how much the rider is charged? If the driver is legally required to collect 100% of the money from the customer, then shouldn’t they know how MUCH to collect? And shouldn’t the driver do the collecting, somehow?

View attachment 398807

Seems to me that Uber and Lyft are involved in tax fraud on a massive level, at least in the US of A. Even with the new TOS addendum that Uber forced everyone to sign, they are still acting illegally when it comes to this subject.


Summary

Some drivers don’t care what Uber takes, and that’s fine. Some people say “if you don’t like it, then just quit”; I have responses to that, however that is a different discussion for a different day. This article is about WHY the information is important, regardless of why people continue to drive.

I suppose if I were a new driver and didn’t know that Uber or Lyft were doing anything wrong, or didn’t care, this job would be much less stressful. But I do know, and I do care.

View attachment 398808

Many drivers care, but feel powerless to make Uber and Lyft change (I know I feel this way). If you are someone who cares about this issue, keep spreading the word! From time to time we pick up people who DO have authority or connections, and we CAN make a difference.

Be safe.
Great posting! I totally agree with all the above! Thank you for taking the time to write and share this with us all!
 

Boca Ratman

Well-Known Member
Uber has made the disclosure screen oversized so that taking screenshots with 100% of the information (on one screen) is now impossible.
I'm not defending uber here but I think that was just a glitch or something. It's back to normal 2 or 3 days now, at least on my app.
 

Funky Monkey

Well-Known Member
Plea
Why it matters what Uber customers pay

View attachment 398805

Uber and Lyft are now trying to hide what the customers (pax) pay from the drivers. Uber has made the disclosure screen oversized so that taking screenshots with 100% of the information (on one screen) is now impossible. Lyft has gone off the deep end and completely removed the information from drivers.

Some drivers say, So What? Why does it matter? After all, we agreed to drive for a specific amount of money, regardless of what the passenger pays, right? Does the WalMart cashier care how much profit is made when they ring up the items? Does the Taco Bell cook care how much the customer is getting charged when they insert the meat-like substance into the tortilla? Of course not! (Then again, those people are employees, and do not have to bear any expenses in the course of doing their job.)

There are MANY reasons why full disclosure matters. Here we go…


Drivers tips sometimes are affected by customer pricing

When customers pay more (in ride hailing scenarios), they tend to tip less. This is not always true, of course, but the perception has been sewn into society that the driver makes 75% of the fare. Why is this a problem? When a pax believes that the majority of their money (for the ride) is being paid to the driver, they often tip less. In economics there is a term called “trickle down”, which means that money trickles down from one entity to another and another as it is spent over and over. In theory, more money spent on a ride means more money for the driver, which means more for the local economy. But in our reality, more money spent on a ride simply means more money for Uber and Lyft, with nothing extra for the driver. But the customer doesn’t know this!

[ Note: this may change in CA in the coming weeks, but as of this writing the Upfront Pricing is still the way things are everywhere. ]

The damage to the driver comes when a passenger believes the driver is getting the lion’s share of what is being paid for the ride. If someone is paying $15 for a really short ride, and they think that they should only be paying $10, then they might believe that the driver is making a lot more than they really are. On a typical $15 ride, if the driver is taking home 75% (which is what the companies advertise that we make), then the driver is doing pretty well. The truth is, the driver is lucky to pull in $4 or $5 on a short ride. As a result, the pax are likely to not bother tipping, because they believe the driver already gotten paid $10+.

Personally, I have seen the overall volume of riders who tip drop dramatically over the past year, from roughly 40% to around 20%. My service level has not changed (as far as I can tell). I am still consistently rated 4.9+ on both platforms, and most people leave my vehicle with a smile on their face and the words “Thank you” coming from their lips. Yet, tips are down overall, and I blame price increases for my decrease in pay.


Uber and Lyft are lying to the world about how much drivers make, and need to be called on their BS

This lie is continually being perpetuated by Uber (and Lyft). They claim that “driver payments” are roughly 75% of the gross, but they do not break it down. The term “driver payments” might include sign-on bonuses, surge payments, quest payments, cancel fees, arbitration and lawsuit settlements, attorneys fees and costs of onboarding new drivers.

As a long time driver, I know darn well that Uber and Lyft take roughly 50% of the money that comes in for themselves, on average. When I find out that I get 75% or more of a given ride, I feel lucky.

I suppose I could bury my head in the sand and not worry about it, but then I would simply be enabling the companies to continue to lie to the world. By keeping informed of the truth, and spreading it whenever I can (within reason), I feel like I am doing my part to help hold these POS companies somewhat accountable. If the truth is not spread, then the lies will continue without anything to stop them.


Surge charges are often a lie, and often illegal

The very idea of surge pricing is a simple economic concept. The customer gets charged more in order to incentivize the driver to do something that they would not do otherwise (such as drive during bar close, or after a concert, or during a snowstorm).

Claiming that a customer is paying surge because of higher demand, without actually paying some surge to the driver, is just as illegal as when Uber charged a “Safety Fee” without doing anything to enhance safety.

If the driver is not being given a surge payment, then why is a surge price being charged? I understand that companies want to charge as much as they can; that is a normal part of business. The problem I have is when the company LIES and uses surge pricing as an excuse for charging more. They claim that they ‘need’ to charge more, in order to get drivers to pick people up. But if this is not true, then the companies should be held accountable. The only way they can be held accountable is if this information is shared with the proper authorities. Hiding pax payments from the driver makes this more difficult.


Transparency is a two way street

As Independent Contractors, we are expected to bear the full cost of whatever expenses we incur. The amount of those expenses is irrelevant, as far as the companies are concerned. Why don’t the companies ask us what our operating costs are? We know that the Prius driver pays a lot less for gasoline than the Jeep Cherokee driver. Answer: Because they don’t care what our costs are. We get paid what we get paid, right?

From time to time, however, Lyft and Uber demand transparency from drivers regarding OUR operating expenses. Ask any Lyft driver about their most recent cleaning fee submission, and they will confirm that Lyft demands receipts. WHY??? What does it matter what the driver’s cost was for clean-up? If the payment for a clean-up is based on actual driver costs, then shouldn’t a customer’s ride payment (for the ride itself) be based on actual driver costs?

How do they think they can legally withhold payment (for a cleaning fee) if we don’t show our expenses, costs, etc, yet they refuse to provide us with pax payment information?

Seems to me that they have crossed the legal line with this one. Drivers are (legally) a business entity, brought into the mix as Independent Contractors. If Lyft and Uber are going to refuse to provide drivers with specific financial information, then they have no legal right to demand financial information in return.


Knowledge is power

Information is crucial to being able to make informed decisions. A key component to Uber and Lyft’s success is the ignorance of drivers. Drivers do not have the ability to communicate with one another en masse; if we did, we would form ad hoc groups and execute exceptionally potent strikes from time to time, which would benefit all drivers in that market in the long run. The goal of the strikes? Higher pay and better working conditions!

By taking away more and more information, the company’s goal is to create a state of mind for drivers where Ignorance is Bliss. They want drivers to simply pick people up and drop them off without questioning anything. Automated cars are a dream for the companies – an automated vehicle will not question ANYTHING! But a human, who is responsible for their own expenses and safety, and who may have better or more profitable things to do, will question everything that they think is important to them.

If a company takes away information, then the ignorance of drivers will usually cause them to not bother questioning stuff. Here are some examples of the companies trying to manipulate drivers by taking away critical information:

* By removing the name of a business, drivers are less likely to cancel on certain pickups. You might accept a pickup from 1234 Main Street, but you might ignore the same request from that ping if it said “WalMart”.

* By taking away the physical distance to pickup (Lyft) and lying about how far away (time) a pickup really is, drivers are more likely to accept a pickup that they think is close when it is really not.

* By stacking pings without giving other relevant information, drivers are more likely to simply take that next ride, instead of considering that perhaps the area might be surging or even busier than usual, and they should be getting paid surge or that there might be a closer ride available.

* By not showing the destination in the request, drivers take a chance with every ride request; not knowing if they are getting a short ride, long ride, rides to the dangerous parts of town, rides out of the territory, rides to slow areas, rides to drive thrus and back, etc.

View attachment 398806

I dunno about you, but I’m not big on rides to or from the ghetto. It sure would be nice if that information was present when the ride is offered (pinged). More information = good for drivers. [ Destination discrimination is real. So is getting robbed or shot in bad neighborhoods. ]

As humans, if we believe something is important, we will question it. The fact that the companies are intentionally hiding passenger payment information from the drivers should tell you that this information is important!!!

Knowledge of what your costs are AND of what the passenger is willing to pay is crucial to deciding how much you should charge for your services. We are legally allowed to set our own prices. There is 96% turnover of drivers each year, and the primary reason is because of low pay. This facet of the discussion starts to blend into a different legal argument (Price Fixing). I will try to keep it simple and stay on topic…


Price fixing

As Independent Contractors, we are ALL required to set our own prices. I set my price for giving rides, returning lost items, cleaning up vomit, waiting at a store, driving to pick up a pax, etc. You also set your own prices. Every Independent Contractor driver in the United States, by law, sets their own prices, whether they know it or not.

If my price is equal to or lower than what Uber is willing to pay, then Uber will send me business. As a result, all active driver’s prices (in a given market) are equal to what Uber is willing to pay. Is your price higher than what Uber will pay? If so, then I guess you aren’t driving. When your prices come down to what Uber is willing to pay you, then you turn the app back on and you will get pings.

Forcing every driver to set the exact same price as everyone else (in their market) is called Price Fixing and is illegal in the United States. The Department of Justice is looking into it, but the wheels of justice move much slower than corporate America.

[ An extension of this is Price Fixing on the passenger end. It seems amazing that both companies have the exact same Rate Card in almost every single market. How is that even possible? Sure, they manipulate the end user prices based on what they think they can get away with, but the official rates that they charge (the Rate Card) is the same as their competition’s. In every US market. ILLEGAL. ]

As an Independent Contractor, I want FULL INFORMATION regarding my costs and what the customer is willing to pay, in order to be able to set my prices accordingly. Without this information, I am just driving around, blindly accepting whatever the company said they will pay.

Is it possible that I might have access to this information and still set my prices at this (low paying) level? Yes, anything is possible, right? But without this information, how am I supposed to be able to make an informed decision? How am I supposed to be able to compete with all the other Independent Contractors (drivers) out there? Economically, if market prices are set by supply and demand (Economics 101), then I need to know what the supply and demand are, in order to set my prices! Knowing what a potential customer is willing to pay is CRUCIAL to being able to set my own price.

Proof of these illegal actions needs to be shared with the various authorities and regulators on an ongoing basis. It’s not like Uber and Lyft and going to voluntarily give up information to any TNC authorities or the DOJ; drivers need to be able to provide this info when asked. Drivers also need to be able to provide it to the news media, in order to keep the stories active and alive.


Taxation and Legalities

This is a fun one: Lyft and Uber claim that they do nothing more than set up the business relationship between the driver and the rider. They claim to the IRS that the driver collects 100% of the money, and then they take their share from the driver.

This is all a lie, obviously. First of all, if the driver collects 100% of the money from the rider, then why doesn’t it hit the driver’s bank account?

Second, how can a driver collect 100% of the money from the rider if the driver doesn’t even know how much the rider is charged? If the driver is legally required to collect 100% of the money from the customer, then shouldn’t they know how MUCH to collect? And shouldn’t the driver do the collecting, somehow?

View attachment 398807

Seems to me that Uber and Lyft are involved in tax fraud on a massive level, at least in the US of A. Even with the new TOS addendum that Uber forced everyone to sign, they are still acting illegally when it comes to this subject.


Summary

Some drivers don’t care what Uber takes, and that’s fine. Some people say “if you don’t like it, then just quit”; I have responses to that, however that is a different discussion for a different day. This article is about WHY the information is important, regardless of why people continue to drive.

I suppose if I were a new driver and didn’t know that Uber or Lyft were doing anything wrong, or didn’t care, this job would be much less stressful. But I do know, and I do care.

View attachment 398808

Many drivers care, but feel powerless to make Uber and Lyft change (I know I feel this way). If you are someone who cares about this issue, keep spreading the word! From time to time we pick up people who DO have authority or connections, and we CAN make a difference.

Be safe.
Please send this to your local congressman if you haven't. I'm sure someone in Dallas has already been "taken care of" by Uber (they're renting space initially then building an office tower in the not too distant future). God speed, and keep up the informed posts!

For those of you who are happy with Uber, surely someone better will come along if U & L get the boot. Yes, probably wishful thinking on my part but we're human so there's always hope, even for us less evolved primates!!
 

Funky Monkey

Well-Known Member
With the changes in California by Uber restricting service fee charges to 25%, it is now necessary to audit every ride at end of day.

On the first day of these changes, best return on rider payment I had was 66%. Sending all my fares that are below the 75% back for review.
Jalopnik et al is reporting we're making on 34ish% on average, but it seems much worse
 

UberLyftDriverGuy

Active Member
I'm not defending uber here but I think that was just a glitch or something. It's back to normal 2 or 3 days now, at least on my app.
Yes, I'm sure it was an intentional glitch from the Tech company to make it more difficult to screenshot ride payment info to cover their shady so called upfront pricing policy (that is by the way not upfront earnings in any way)! And yes your correct they fixed it as they have felt the heat from the recent glitches and business choices they have made blowing up in their faces in California! When you repeatedly glitch and screw your "Valued Business Partners" who could ever trust them to do things ethically again! Trust but verify! Take screenshots of everything you can to protect yourself!
 

waldowainthrop

Well-Known Member
A clarification of the point “if you don’t like it just quit”.

I say this to encourage people to take control of their lives and to start taking the perspective in their life that they are entitled to very little in the world. The rideshare companies have designed a contract where you are entitled to very little even in the limited context of being a contractor. In short, they don’t owe you shit, by design.

I do not say this to belittle people in tough economic circumstances where functionally they can’t quit yet. I do not say this to excuse poor pay or mistreatment of labor by owners of capital.

As a pragmatic matter, if you are being mistreated by the rideshare companies, you should quit. Don’t give them another penny. It is up to the individual whether they have other options open to them for mistreatment (legal remedies, unionization, driving habits like shuffling or fraud, talking to the press).

Also, thanks for the good article @Mista T.
 

Funky Monkey

Well-Known Member
A clarification of the point “if you don’t like it just quit”.

I say this to encourage people to take control of their lives and to start taking the perspective in their life that they are entitled to very little in the world. The rideshare companies have designed a contract where you are entitled to very little even in the limited context of being a contractor. In short, they don’t owe you shit, by design.

I do not say this to belittle people in tough economic circumstances where functionally they can’t quit yet. I do not say this to excuse poor pay or mistreatment of labor by owners of capital.

As a pragmatic matter, if you are being mistreated by the rideshare companies, you should quit. Don’t give them another penny. It is up to the individual whether they have other options open to them for mistreatment (legal remedies, unionization, driving habits like shuffling or fraud, talking to the press).

Also, thanks for the good article @Mista T.
Someone should start an Uber / Lyft appreciation thread to see how many drivers actually enjoy working for them, or feel like driving for them is worthwhile at the very least. And not bash those who do!

If they're aware of how shady these companies are, they're blocking it out, taking it one step at a time, and concluding the ends justify the means.

They say it's all relative but it never hurts to take stock of your life. You might be in the bottom 1% in your respective area but in the top 1-10% worldwide in quality of life
 

Wonkytonk

Well-Known Member
Thanks for this one Mista T. Lately I've been introspective on the entire subject of ridesharing and how the companies are operating.

Price fixing is one of the areas with which I've contended. From my perspective the way they're claiming it's our pricing the rider is paying, and that they pay us the full amount and we in return pay them their cut which they extract in advance (it's extremely thoughtful of them isn't it) is placing every independent contractor driver in legal jeopardy of price fixing since we all charge the same price on their platform.

That's quite frankly unacceptable.
 

Wolfgang Faust

Well-Known Member
Uber’s computer program was looked at a million times by every federal agency and found to be perfect. Nice try
Nice try.
What the hell does that mean?

-Passive aggressive bullshit sucks.
Post automatically merged:

Thanks for this one Mista T. Lately I've been introspective on the entire subject of ridesharing and how the companies are operating.

Price fixing is one of the areas with which I've contended. From my perspective the way they're claiming it's our pricing the rider is paying, and that they pay us the full amount and we in return pay them their cut which they extract in advance (it's extremely thoughtful of them isn't it) is placing every independent contractor driver in legal jeopardy of price fixing since we all charge the same price on their platform.

That's quite frankly unacceptable.
Uber and Lyft are guilty of price fixing, cutting fares...matching.....while drivers bleed out.
 

Wonkytonk

Well-Known Member
Uber and Lyft are guilty of price fixing, cutting fares...matching.....while drivers bleed out.
You and I both know it but they're claiming to be the simple middle man charging riders our fee, and extracting their cut from our independent contractor price to the rider. Legally that places all independent contractor drivers in a precarious position since ostensibly we're all charging the same price which legally lends itself to the charge of collusion to fix prices, and this is especially troublesome when surge pricing is in effect.
 

Cold Fusion

Well-Known Member
Khosrowshahi knows how drivers will protest
this new exposure,
by accepting the next Ping

While 10,000 newbies sign up
 

johnnyp

Member
Why it matters what Uber customers pay

View attachment 398805

Uber and Lyft are now trying to hide what the customers (pax) pay from the drivers. Uber has made the disclosure screen oversized so that taking screenshots with 100% of the information (on one screen) is now impossible. Lyft has gone off the deep end and completely removed the information from drivers.

Some drivers say, So What? Why does it matter? After all, we agreed to drive for a specific amount of money, regardless of what the passenger pays, right? Does the WalMart cashier care how much profit is made when they ring up the items? Does the Taco Bell cook care how much the customer is getting charged when they insert the meat-like substance into the tortilla? Of course not! (Then again, those people are employees, and do not have to bear any expenses in the course of doing their job.)

There are MANY reasons why full disclosure matters. Here we go…


Drivers tips sometimes are affected by customer pricing

When customers pay more (in ride hailing scenarios), they tend to tip less. This is not always true, of course, but the perception has been sewn into society that the driver makes 75% of the fare. Why is this a problem? When a pax believes that the majority of their money (for the ride) is being paid to the driver, they often tip less. In economics there is a term called “trickle down”, which means that money trickles down from one entity to another and another as it is spent over and over. In theory, more money spent on a ride means more money for the driver, which means more for the local economy. But in our reality, more money spent on a ride simply means more money for Uber and Lyft, with nothing extra for the driver. But the customer doesn’t know this!

[ Note: this may change in CA in the coming weeks, but as of this writing the Upfront Pricing is still the way things are everywhere. ]

The damage to the driver comes when a passenger believes the driver is getting the lion’s share of what is being paid for the ride. If someone is paying $15 for a really short ride, and they think that they should only be paying $10, then they might believe that the driver is making a lot more than they really are. On a typical $15 ride, if the driver is taking home 75% (which is what the companies advertise that we make), then the driver is doing pretty well. The truth is, the driver is lucky to pull in $4 or $5 on a short ride. As a result, the pax are likely to not bother tipping, because they believe the driver already gotten paid $10+.

Personally, I have seen the overall volume of riders who tip drop dramatically over the past year, from roughly 40% to around 20%. My service level has not changed (as far as I can tell). I am still consistently rated 4.9+ on both platforms, and most people leave my vehicle with a smile on their face and the words “Thank you” coming from their lips. Yet, tips are down overall, and I blame price increases for my decrease in pay.


Uber and Lyft are lying to the world about how much drivers make, and need to be called on their BS

This lie is continually being perpetuated by Uber (and Lyft). They claim that “driver payments” are roughly 75% of the gross, but they do not break it down. The term “driver payments” might include sign-on bonuses, surge payments, quest payments, cancel fees, arbitration and lawsuit settlements, attorneys fees and costs of onboarding new drivers.

As a long time driver, I know darn well that Uber and Lyft take roughly 50% of the money that comes in for themselves, on average. When I find out that I get 75% or more of a given ride, I feel lucky.

I suppose I could bury my head in the sand and not worry about it, but then I would simply be enabling the companies to continue to lie to the world. By keeping informed of the truth, and spreading it whenever I can (within reason), I feel like I am doing my part to help hold these POS companies somewhat accountable. If the truth is not spread, then the lies will continue without anything to stop them.


Surge charges are often a lie, and often illegal

The very idea of surge pricing is a simple economic concept. The customer gets charged more in order to incentivize the driver to do something that they would not do otherwise (such as drive during bar close, or after a concert, or during a snowstorm).

Claiming that a customer is paying surge because of higher demand, without actually paying some surge to the driver, is just as illegal as when Uber charged a “Safety Fee” without doing anything to enhance safety.

If the driver is not being given a surge payment, then why is a surge price being charged? I understand that companies want to charge as much as they can; that is a normal part of business. The problem I have is when the company LIES and uses surge pricing as an excuse for charging more. They claim that they ‘need’ to charge more, in order to get drivers to pick people up. But if this is not true, then the companies should be held accountable. The only way they can be held accountable is if this information is shared with the proper authorities. Hiding pax payments from the driver makes this more difficult.


Transparency is a two way street

As Independent Contractors, we are expected to bear the full cost of whatever expenses we incur. The amount of those expenses is irrelevant, as far as the companies are concerned. Why don’t the companies ask us what our operating costs are? We know that the Prius driver pays a lot less for gasoline than the Jeep Cherokee driver. Answer: Because they don’t care what our costs are. We get paid what we get paid, right?

From time to time, however, Lyft and Uber demand transparency from drivers regarding OUR operating expenses. Ask any Lyft driver about their most recent cleaning fee submission, and they will confirm that Lyft demands receipts. WHY??? What does it matter what the driver’s cost was for clean-up? If the payment for a clean-up is based on actual driver costs, then shouldn’t a customer’s ride payment (for the ride itself) be based on actual driver costs?

How do they think they can legally withhold payment (for a cleaning fee) if we don’t show our expenses, costs, etc, yet they refuse to provide us with pax payment information?

Seems to me that they have crossed the legal line with this one. Drivers are (legally) a business entity, brought into the mix as Independent Contractors. If Lyft and Uber are going to refuse to provide drivers with specific financial information, then they have no legal right to demand financial information in return.


Knowledge is power

Information is crucial to being able to make informed decisions. A key component to Uber and Lyft’s success is the ignorance of drivers. Drivers do not have the ability to communicate with one another en masse; if we did, we would form ad hoc groups and execute exceptionally potent strikes from time to time, which would benefit all drivers in that market in the long run. The goal of the strikes? Higher pay and better working conditions!

By taking away more and more information, the company’s goal is to create a state of mind for drivers where Ignorance is Bliss. They want drivers to simply pick people up and drop them off without questioning anything. Automated cars are a dream for the companies – an automated vehicle will not question ANYTHING! But a human, who is responsible for their own expenses and safety, and who may have better or more profitable things to do, will question everything that they think is important to them.

If a company takes away information, then the ignorance of drivers will usually cause them to not bother questioning stuff. Here are some examples of the companies trying to manipulate drivers by taking away critical information:

* By removing the name of a business, drivers are less likely to cancel on certain pickups. You might accept a pickup from 1234 Main Street, but you might ignore the same request from that ping if it said “WalMart”.

* By taking away the physical distance to pickup (Lyft) and lying about how far away (time) a pickup really is, drivers are more likely to accept a pickup that they think is close when it is really not.

* By stacking pings without giving other relevant information, drivers are more likely to simply take that next ride, instead of considering that perhaps the area might be surging or even busier than usual, and they should be getting paid surge or that there might be a closer ride available.

* By not showing the destination in the request, drivers take a chance with every ride request; not knowing if they are getting a short ride, long ride, rides to the dangerous parts of town, rides out of the territory, rides to slow areas, rides to drive thrus and back, etc.

View attachment 398806

I dunno about you, but I’m not big on rides to or from the ghetto. It sure would be nice if that information was present when the ride is offered (pinged). More information = good for drivers. [ Destination discrimination is real. So is getting robbed or shot in bad neighborhoods. ]

As humans, if we believe something is important, we will question it. The fact that the companies are intentionally hiding passenger payment information from the drivers should tell you that this information is important!!!

Knowledge of what your costs are AND of what the passenger is willing to pay is crucial to deciding how much you should charge for your services. We are legally allowed to set our own prices. There is 96% turnover of drivers each year, and the primary reason is because of low pay. This facet of the discussion starts to blend into a different legal argument (Price Fixing). I will try to keep it simple and stay on topic…


Price fixing

As Independent Contractors, we are ALL required to set our own prices. I set my price for giving rides, returning lost items, cleaning up vomit, waiting at a store, driving to pick up a pax, etc. You also set your own prices. Every Independent Contractor driver in the United States, by law, sets their own prices, whether they know it or not.

If my price is equal to or lower than what Uber is willing to pay, then Uber will send me business. As a result, all active driver’s prices (in a given market) are equal to what Uber is willing to pay. Is your price higher than what Uber will pay? If so, then I guess you aren’t driving. When your prices come down to what Uber is willing to pay you, then you turn the app back on and you will get pings.

Forcing every driver to set the exact same price as everyone else (in their market) is called Price Fixing and is illegal in the United States. The Department of Justice is looking into it, but the wheels of justice move much slower than corporate America.

[ An extension of this is Price Fixing on the passenger end. It seems amazing that both companies have the exact same Rate Card in almost every single market. How is that even possible? Sure, they manipulate the end user prices based on what they think they can get away with, but the official rates that they charge (the Rate Card) is the same as their competition’s. In every US market. ILLEGAL. ]

As an Independent Contractor, I want FULL INFORMATION regarding my costs and what the customer is willing to pay, in order to be able to set my prices accordingly. Without this information, I am just driving around, blindly accepting whatever the company said they will pay.

Is it possible that I might have access to this information and still set my prices at this (low paying) level? Yes, anything is possible, right? But without this information, how am I supposed to be able to make an informed decision? How am I supposed to be able to compete with all the other Independent Contractors (drivers) out there? Economically, if market prices are set by supply and demand (Economics 101), then I need to know what the supply and demand are, in order to set my prices! Knowing what a potential customer is willing to pay is CRUCIAL to being able to set my own price.

Proof of these illegal actions needs to be shared with the various authorities and regulators on an ongoing basis. It’s not like Uber and Lyft and going to voluntarily give up information to any TNC authorities or the DOJ; drivers need to be able to provide this info when asked. Drivers also need to be able to provide it to the news media, in order to keep the stories active and alive.


Taxation and Legalities

This is a fun one: Lyft and Uber claim that they do nothing more than set up the business relationship between the driver and the rider. They claim to the IRS that the driver collects 100% of the money, and then they take their share from the driver.

This is all a lie, obviously. First of all, if the driver collects 100% of the money from the rider, then why doesn’t it hit the driver’s bank account?

Second, how can a driver collect 100% of the money from the rider if the driver doesn’t even know how much the rider is charged? If the driver is legally required to collect 100% of the money from the customer, then shouldn’t they know how MUCH to collect? And shouldn’t the driver do the collecting, somehow?

View attachment 398807

Seems to me that Uber and Lyft are involved in tax fraud on a massive level, at least in the US of A. Even with the new TOS addendum that Uber forced everyone to sign, they are still acting illegally when it comes to this subject.


Summary

Some drivers don’t care what Uber takes, and that’s fine. Some people say “if you don’t like it, then just quit”; I have responses to that, however that is a different discussion for a different day. This article is about WHY the information is important, regardless of why people continue to drive.

I suppose if I were a new driver and didn’t know that Uber or Lyft were doing anything wrong, or didn’t care, this job would be much less stressful. But I do know, and I do care.

View attachment 398808

Many drivers care, but feel powerless to make Uber and Lyft change (I know I feel this way). If you are someone who cares about this issue, keep spreading the word! From time to time we pick up people who DO have authority or connections, and we CAN make a difference.

Be safe.
 

The Gift of Fish

Well-Known Member
Uber’s computer program was looked at a million times by every federal agency and found to be perfect. Nice try
We're going to need more information from you regarding your claim:

What federal agencies did the specific investigations you are referring to?
What "computer program" of Uber's did they analyse?
When did they do it?
How did they analyse it?
What illegal activity were they looking for?
What were their conclusions?
 
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