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:

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:

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

Lyft adopts clear policy on service animals

Lyft has followed Uber in making it crystal clear that its drivers need to accommodate riders with service animals. As a driver, you cannot refuse service to someone because they are accompanied by a service animal. Uber made you agree to their service animal policy when you logged into the Driver app. Lyft sent out an email to its drivers that explained the policy.

Here’s the meat of the email:

Lyft adopts clear policy on service dogs - Bent Corner
Neither Lyft or Uber is doing anything outrageous here. It appears they’re just following federal law, specifically, the Americans with Disabilities Act. That said, I do think some people abuse the law and pretend their pet dog is their service animal, that their pet dog assists them in some way. You see people in stores with dogs all the time that are not trained service animals. I was at Home Depot a month or so ago and a young woman had a pit bull with her. The dog was not trained in any way. She could not control it. I’m sure the employees at Home Depot have been trained not to challenge anyone when they’re accompanied by a dog, no matter how ridiculous it looks.

I’m not a dog person. Not really. It’s not that I hate dogs. I just don’t like animals that bark, growl, or bite. It just so happens that dogs bark, growl, and bite. Dogs kill people all the time.

That doesn’t mean I would ever refuse a rider who was accompanied by a dog, whether it was a service animal or not a service animal. I drove an Uber passenger down to Washington D.C. a while back who was accompanied by his cocker spaniel and it was one of the best rides I ever had. The dog was a total gentleman. He didn’t bark, growl, or bite me, so I had no problems with him. If all dogs were like cocker spaniels, I would probably be a dog person.