Some Uber drivers are losing their minds

I hope Hagerstown area Uber drivers take Uber Man’s advice and delete Uber. This would mean I wouldn’t have to wait so long between rides. It would mean more rides for me.

Uber rolled out a new methodology for paying drivers. Before Monday, driver pay composed of the base fare added to the per minute fare and then added per mile fare. Uber then totalled this amount up and then subtracted 25%, Uber’s cut. The driver got the rest.

Here in Hagerstown, this worked out to be the following:

$1.50 base fare
$0.15 per minute
$1.10 per mile

This meant that a 10 mile trip that took 15 minutes earned the driver $11.06. This amount was calculated using the following numbers:

(($1.50 base fare) + ($2.25 time) + ($11.00 distance)) – ($3.69 Uber 25% cut) = $11.06 total to driver

Since yesterday, Uber stopped taking a percentage. Instead, Uber just lowered the fares 25%. Since Monday, the rates here in Hagerstown are the following:

$1.13 base fare
$0.1125 per minute
$0.825 per mile

The same hypothetical 10 mile trip that took 15 minutes calculates to the following:

$1.13 base fare + $1.6875 time + $8.25 distance = $11.06 total to driver

See how much easier this is? It’s the same amount. The amount of pay has not changed. It’s just easier to figure out than it was before. The formula is now smaller and more simple. The problem is, some Uber drivers see that their base fare, their per minute fare, and their per mile fare has decreased and they assume that this means they are now making less money.

They’re not. They’re making the same.

It’s actually somewhat embarrassing. Some Uber drivers are even trying to organize a movement to have their fellow Uber drivers delete their app. One of these drivers is YouTube vlogger Uber Man, also known as Randy Shear.

Even though Uber Man’s entire video persona is tied deeply to the Uber Man identity, he’s encouraging drivers to ditch Uber and start driving only for Lyft. This seems insane. Lyft appears to pay drivers the same amount Uber pays its drivers. They do here in Hagerstown and everywhere else I’ve compared the two rideshare services. What’s the point of switching?

Uber Man is also a paid spokesman for Mystro, an Android app that allows drivers to stay logged in to both Uber and Lyft at the same time. Once a driver gets a request from one of the rideshare services, Mystro automatically logs them out of the other.

By encouraging people to delete their Uber app and drive only for Lyft, I’m not sure how great of a paid spokesman Uber Man is being for Mystro. And by that, I mean he’s being a terrible one.

Personally, I hope Hagerstown area Uber drivers take Uber Man’s advice and delete Uber. This would mean I wouldn’t have to wait so long between rides. The worst thing about driving for Uber is having to wait for rides. Less drivers in my area would mean less wait times.

Uber made $6.5 billion last year

Uber released last year’s profit and loss statement to Bloomberg News. It shows that they grossed $20 billion in fares for the year. Considering that Uber drivers, working as independent contractors, take 75% of fares, that would mean Uber should have netted $5 billion in profits based on fares last year. Instead, they report that their net profit was $6.5 billion.

How can that be? Because Uber doesn’t split fares with drivers 75/25. Not really.

As an Uber driver in the Hagerstown area of Maryland, I make the following:

  • $1.50 in a base fare
  • $.15 a minute
  • $1.10 per mile

Uber then slices 25% off that total and then gives me the other 75%. But that’s not all of what Uber makes. They also charge the passenger a booking fee. That booking fee is not split with the driver. What is a booking fee? From Uber’s website:

The booking fee is a separate flat fee added to every trip that helps support safety initiatives for riders and drivers as well as other operational costs. Previously known as the safe rides fee, your booking fee will appear in your trip receipt.

As a driver, I cannot wait for those safety initiatives to kick in. It should be exciting to see what they are. I feel safer just thinking about it. I feel like someone put a helmet on my head, a mint flavored mouth piece in my mouth, and wrapped me in bubble wrap.

The booking fee in Hagerstown, Maryland is $2. It doesn’t matter how long the ride is, each rider pays a flat two bucks to be picked up in the Hagerstown area.

I was online with Uber for 2 hours and 1 minute on Wednesday. I got only one (1) ride request, and that was at the beginning of my shift. I took home $7.06 for the nine minute ride. According to the Uber’s fare calculator, the rider paid anywhere from $10 to $14. For most of the two hours and one minute, I was sitting in the Target parking lot reading the new John Scalzi novel on my Kindle. I had the windows down and there was a nice breeze going on. The book, The Collapsing Empire, is quite good. At least the first one hour and 45 minutes of it.

I actually enjoy driving for Uber. Most of the time that is. I just wish I spent more time driving and less time reading on my Kindle. I feel like Uber tries to saturate markets with new drivers.  Instead of trying to retain the drivers it has, it’s always trying to sign new drivers. That’s why they are always offering new driver bonuses. On one hand, I can see why they do it. Uber never knows when it will have any number of drivers ready to pickup Uber riders. It’s not like we have shifts.

We work when we want to.

Buy The Collapsing Empire on Amazon

Advanced WordPress Facebook group goes full blown iron curtain mode

The Advanced WordPress Facebook group is changing the way it operates. The 28 Admins for the group took a vote and beginning April 17, an Admin must first approve a post before it appears in the group.

From Matt Cromwell’s blog, one of the moderators of Advanced WordPress Facebook group:

Every time a low-quality post gets posted to the group it adds to the noise, and sometimes it might be hours and hours or even a day until an Admin removes it — which means thousands of people have experienced the group with more “noise” than it should have.

If there’s a problem needing solved, I don’t see how this will do it. If it took “hours and hours or even a day” before an Admin could remove a low-quality post, how long will it take them to approve a post? What’s going to happen when one Admin thinks a post is low-quality, but another thinks it’s high-quality?

You will post to the Advanced WordPress Facebook group when you’re told you can. Now hush!

The vote to go all iron curtain wasn’t unanimous. There were Admins who voted against the change.

The group of 28 Admins don’t all think the same about things. If that were the case, the vote would have been unanimous.

This is dumb. The Advanced WordPress Facebook group is a Facebook group. Low-quality is the bread and butter of Facebook. People don’t go to Facebook for high-quality content. Noise is the ocean that Facebook swims in.

Having a discussion group where Admins must first approve posts sounds like a terrible user experience. I’d rather read the occasional bit of noise than have every post approved by a clique of 28 people.

I’m a member of this group. It has always struck me as being somewhat elitist. Why throw the word “Advanced” in the title? The discussions I read there never strike me as being all that advanced. Elitism has always been a real problem with WordPress. When you hear the term “WordPress community” it’s referring to a small clique of people who think they represent everyone using WordPress.

WordPress is just a web publishing platform. People use it because it’s currently the best web publishing platform available. Also, because it’s free. Once something better comes along, I expect people will flock to that. That’s the way it works. When I first started this blog, I was using Movable Type. WordPress came along and it seemed better. The same will happen to WordPress.

If enough people don’t like moderated Facebook discussion groups, I’m sure someone will create a new group. I’ve seen it happen before. There’s a local Facebook group called Whats [sic] Going on in Hagerstown. It was heavily moderated. Discussions were regularly deleted by one of the moderators because they personally didn’t like the topic. People got sick of it and a new group was created, What’s Really Going on in Hagerstown. If history is any indicator, the same with happen to the Advanced WordPress Facebook group.