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Uber Rate Cuts and Rider Safety

This last year, Uber has dramatically reduced what they pay drivers for each fare. In an effort to remain competitive, Lyft followed suit. In some cities, the cuts were as high as 40%! That being said, because of a multitude of economic variables, even smaller markets that saw lower cuts have possibly suffered even more than their larger, healthier counterparts.

While riders may think that rate cuts are good for them, as cuts obviously impact their personal bottom lines, they may want to rethink that. Here's why:

When an industry affords private, personal access to the general public, there is always a measure of risk to the public's safety. This thread it not about Uber's lax screening process, necessarily, but about what happens when a company like Uber operates in ways that reflect a real lack of character, credibility, and respect of its employees. Uber's policies, overwhelmingly, prove they have little respect for the driver, and afford an unhealthy respect for riders.

On the surface, it may seem this is good customer service, but in the long-run, it is actually worse for the riders. Why? Because when an unethical company mistreats its employees, they will invariably end up churning through lots of responsible, professional, caring, dedicated people who refuse to remain under such oversight.

The drivers that are willing to remain under such an unethical company should become very suspect. Why do they tolerate it? What's their motivation? Why would they continue to work without fair compensation? And this is where the public safety issue comes into play.

You see, it doesn't take long as a driver to recognize that at times we serve a very vulnerable public. People who are intoxicated to the point of being unable to carry on a conversation end up in our vehicles. People whose inhibitions were dropped 4 drinks earlier enter our cars and they are in a state of consciousness that is in need of a caring, ethical driver who doesn't view the rider as an opportunity.

In other words, while lowering rates seems to benefit riders short-term, it's going to eventually eliminate the ethical drivers who do this to make a living. What you will be left with will be the drivers who aren't doing it for a living, but doing it to access the general public. Is that the kind of driver riders really want?

This is a serious public safety issue, and we're just at the beginning of its effects. My opinion is that if rates don't rise to meet simple economic needs, and quick, the next year or two will bring an onslaught of hideous Ubertales that will make the general public question whether or not that cheap ride is actually worth it.
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Ways that Uber mistreats their drivers:

- their system of accounting through the app and their website is purposefully ambiguous and difficult to track to assure drivers are compensated properly
- their customer service support is widely hated among drivers because Uber's automated system sends canned responses to real issues 6 or more times before they will actually be addressed by a human being.
- the star rating system is shrouded in mystery, and seems only to encourage the worst in a percentage of riders who attempt to coerce drivers into breaking traffic laws, driving them around at an economic loss, or simply to harass and treat their driver with indignity because Uber treats those ratings, and their riders, with more respect than their drivers. Uber has deactivated countless drivers based on low ratings from whimsical riders who unjustly hammer a driver's rating.
- Uber withholds fares for services rendered without any notification to the driver. When questioned on this, Uber offers vague accusations from riders who abuse their customer support to save themselves money on rides they don't want to pay for.

There are others, so if anyone can think of anything else please chime in.