Uber now mandates receipt for cleaning fee like Lyft

Jeff Mathias

Active Member
I asked the green light guy about this last week but he did not get a memo on it.

Please note that for moderate messes, and for incidents that require cleaning between the window/door or air vents (as described in the below flat fee guide), the submission of receipt and photo(s) of the mess is mandatory for us to be able to issue the eligible flat rate fee.
Cleaning fees will be paid out to you based on the eligible amounts displayed in the below flat fee guide and not based on the amount on your receipt.
Flat Fee Guide
Fee assessments are determined by the following levels of severity:
$0 - Items that can be thrown away or wiped up quickly;
any mess caused by water
$20 - Small interior mess, requires vacuuming or simple cleaning (ex. minor food/beverage spills, dirt, etc.)
$40 - Moderate exterior mess (ex. food/beverage mess on vehicle exterior)
$80 - Moderate interior mess (ex. larger food/beverage spill on fabric or other hard-to-clean surfaces, minor bodily fluid messes)
$150 - Any incident that requires cleaning between the window/door or air vents, major bodily fluid mess.


New Member
After submitting photos and spending 45 minutes cleaning vomit from door/window, running board at the self serve car wash with my own cleaning supplies at 1 am, I got the response that a receipt would be required in order to be awarded a cleaning fee. After going back and forth in messages, I was finally awarded $20 "as a courtesy". Greenlight was no help, declaring (with ever so much empathy) that this new policy is meant to curtail fraudulent requests. This (long) message is what I submitted in the help chat and in the App Feedback:

This is so disingenuous and so demoralizing. While this policy stipulating that cleaning fees will be awarded only upon documentation of professional cleaning services may protect Uber passengers from fraudulent claims and abuse of the system, it is ultimately shortsighted and wrongheaded. By degrees, it strips away a key protection that drivers have had and, inasmuch, will undermine drivers' confidence that Uber respects their time and their vehicles. In so deteriorating this basic confidence, it is bound to spawn more fraud and more abuse in this area as well as in other, unanticipated ones.

It is plain face obvious that a cleanup fee, especially for bodily fluids, should fairly compensate the driver. Full stop. This compensation should not be contingent upon of the hiring of a professional cleaning service.

First, it is disgusting, degrading and demoralizing to be forced to be in contact for any period of time with the vomit of one of Uber's passengers.

Second, the reality is that, for practical reasons, drivers handle most cleanups themselves. Most vomit episodes occur at night after professional cleaning services are closed. Even those incidents occurring when such services might be open for business aren't guaranteed to take place in close proximity to such professional services. It is wholly impractical and patently unfair to suggest, as this policy does, that a driver should endure the physical revulsion and potential long-term damage to the vehicle that waiting for professional services to open for business (or driving a significant distance to such during business hours) would entail.

Third, the driver is going to be spending his own potential earnings time offline cleaning, then airing, a rider's vomit (or food, or whatever). There are times when the seats are wet from scrubbing, or that the odor lingers, when the time spent offline will greatly exceed the actual time spent cleaning. Your policy does not acknowledge this lost time/lost earnings. While compensation for this offline time would appear to be a sensitive issue in the context of the contractor vs. employee controversy, I strongly suggest that Uber policies err on the side of protecting its drivers here, lest they motivate collective action or, perhaps worse for the brand, incite subpar service. In failing to compensate for forced time offline, the policy is nudging rationally acting drivers towards getting online before the vehicle is actually ready, and therefore providing suboptimal service. Hand in hand with the effect of angering and demoralizing drivers, the effect of this policy will lead to an erosion of Uber's brand. People will share their stories of sitting on wet seats or in cars that smell of vomit. That will be part of Uber's reputation. They could easily become known as puke cars, vomitmobiles, Pukeber, etc.

Fourth, in any organization, trust is reciprocal. Demonstrable good faith from management begets good faith and trust throughout the organization. When stakeholders feel that management is looking out for them, they will generally act in accord with policies and make efforts to represent the organization well. The opposite also holds. When stakeholders can see that management is failing to protect them, ie, to set policies that demonstrate fair consideration of their interests, they will reciprocate by cutting corners, finding loopholes and otherwise confounding the rules and systems in place. In short, if you thought you had a problem with abuse of the cleaning fee before, just wait until word of this policy spreads.

Fifth, in commonsense terms, there should be consequences for riders' bad behavior. Eating and spilling food, vomiting in vehicles - these behaviors call for strong deterrents. A low rating from the driver is a very weak deterrent. A significant cleanup fee is a strong deterrent. Eliminating significant (but fair) cleaning fees effectively licenses this bad behavior from riders. What in the world are you going to do about that once self-driving cars become a reality and you've conditioned riders that it's acceptable to make a mess in the vehicle?

Sixth, the immediate impact of this policy will be that fewer intoxicated passengers will be given rides. (The advice given to me at the Greenlight Hub, ie, that I will have to be more selective about who to pick up, substantiates this). Intoxicated passengers, the overwhelming majority of which will never make a mess, will be frustrated when drivers consistently pull up and cancel their ride, having assessed that they are not worth the risk, when the risk is not backed by a sensible policy regarding cleaning fees. This is bound to engender riders' bad feelings toward Uber and towards its drivers.

Lastly, and more generally - in the absence of principled strategy, Uber is playing whack-a-mole here. The first mole to get whacked is always the drivers. How can you possibly suppose that this doesn't have consequences? In so many ways, Uber's transportation network has been founded on classical Rational Action theory. Yet, you consistently overlook the rational responses that drivers when policies and procedures change to their detriment.


Active Member
Very well said!! Uber and Lyft don't care about the driver. Once you accept that. You will enjoy driving much more.