Why people hate driving for Uber

I decided to drive for Uber today. I went out this afternoon and ended up taking only three trips. The second trip irritated me. Not the trip, but the way Uber handled it. It’s one of the reasons why people hate driving for Uber.

Uber sent me a notification that there was a rider at the Hagerstown Walmart. I accepted the trip and drove to Walmart. The rider sent me a text message telling me which entrance he was at. I got there and helped him put his bags in the car. I began the trip and I learned from the Uber Driver app that he wanted to go to Greencastle, Pennsylvania. It was around 11 miles away.

I got on Interstate 81 and began driving up to Greencastle. The rider asked if I would mind stopping at a convenience store before we got to his destination. No problem. When I pulled off the interstate at his exit, I stopped at the convenience store he wanted to go to. I waited about five minutes while he bought whatever he wanted to buy. He came back out to the car and I drove him to his destination.

As soon as I dropped him off and completed the trip, I put the Uber Driver app in offline mode. I was in Pennsylvania. With a car registered in Maryland, I knew I could only begin Uber rides in Maryland, Washington DC, and Deleware.

As soon as I got back south of the Mason-Dixon line, I tried to put the Uber Driver app back in online mode. It wouldn’t let me. It said I was in an area that I wasn’t registered with Uber to drive. I was back in Hagerstown at this point. I went ahead and rebooted my iPhone. That allowed me to bring up the Uber Driver app and go online.

It still didn’t show how much I made from my last trip. I didn’t worry about it because I know sometimes it can take a while for trips to be tabulated. I took another trip and decided to call it a day. It annoyed me that my trip up to Greencastle still wasn’t showing in my earnings report.

I stopped by the grocery store, bought a few things, and went home.

Once I got home, I checked Uber and they’re still processing my second trip. How many hours will it take? I’m sure the fact that the trip took me to Pennsylvania made things more complicated for Uber, but Uber sent me there. They should have the ability to calculate trips from the Hagerstown Walmart to Greencastle. People from Greencastle routinely shop at the Hagerstown Walmart.

Uber needs to focus on improving their basic software and the ability to process trips in a quick and accurate manner instead of trying to build a fleet of soulless robot cars with reportedly stolen software.

How driving for Lyft compares to Uber

I had my first experience driving for Lyft yesterday. I’ve tried to drive for the alternative to Uber for a while now, but I’ve never had any requests. I pulled up the app yesterday and in Rider mode – Lyft uses the same app for both rider and driver –  I saw that to get a driver to my location, it would take 16 minutes. This told me there weren’t any Lyft drivers in the Hagerstown area. I switched to Driver mode and almost immediately got a request.

Lyft vs. Uber

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that Lyft doesn’t offer its own navigation system. When choosing to navigate to your rider, Lyft asks if you want to use Google Maps or Waze. I know from driving with Uber, Waze is not an app for me. It routinely displays ads on the screen that take over the navigation window. I’ll have a passenger in the back and I’m driving to their location. Waze will suddenly display an ad for Sheetz and ask me if I want to reroute to a Sheetz located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania to buy some French fries.

I don’t like French fries.
I don’t like going to Waynesboro or Pennsylvania.

I selected Google Maps to route me to the rider. When I got to the location, I saw a woman standing in front of the address smoking and talking on the phone. As I pulled up, she started smoking faster, as though she wanted to finish her cigarette before getting in the car. I hate when riders do this. They usually always reek of cigarette smoke and the odor tends to stay in the car long after they get out. Not only did she smell like pre-lung cancer, she was wearing a massive amount of perfume. It was like the two obnoxious smells were battling for olfactory domination. As far as I was concerned, they were both winning and I was losing.

I had to exit out of Google Maps to begin the drive. With Uber, I don’t have to do that. Since she was talking on the phone, I didn’t even try to engage in small talk. As soon as she ended the call, it sounded like she got a text. She then got another call. I normally ask passengers where they’re going but since she was busy talking and texting, I didn’t want to intrude. I decided to just allow Google Maps take me to her destination.

Big mistake.

When we were almost at her destination, I had to break my silence and ask her which side of the road she wanted to be dropped off at. The pin marking her destination was smack center in the middle of the road. She responded by telling me she didn’t know, she was new to Hagerstown. I asked her where she was going, something I should have asked at the very beginning. She told me she was going to 7-11.

We were actually heading away from the closest 7-11. I told her this and turned around. She asked if it was far. I told her that it wasn’t. About a minute later, I pulled into the parking lot at 7-11 and my very first Lyft trip was completed.

How driving for Lyft compares to Uber - Bent Corner
Febreeze, the rideshare driver’s best friend.

As I expected, the car still smelled of perfume and cigarettes. I opened all the windows and drove around a bit, hoping it would air out. I think that worked. I won’t know for certain until I get in the car today. It might take a heavy dosing of Febreeze to eradicate the smell entirely. It wouldn’t be the first time I had to use Febreeze because of a passenger. I should have just Febreezed the backseat last night when the day was over.

I tried to get another request for Lyft, but I didn’t get any requests. By this time it was after 5:00 PM, within the timeframe Lyft told me in a prior email demand was going to be high in western Maryland.

This morning I got an email from Lyft showing what I did yesterday.

Lyft took 25 percent. How does that compare to Uber? Here’s an Uber trip from last Thursday:

The time was about the same, but the distance was far greater. Uber took $6.10 meaning they also took 25 percent.

Conclusion

Not only was yesterday’s drive my first with Lyft, it will be my last, at least for the foreseeable future. I see no reason to drive for Lyft instead of Uber. Here in the Hagerstown area, people are much more into using Uber. It’s been here for a while now. People in Hagerstown know about Uber. I don’t think they even know that Lyft is now in Hagerstown.

The rider I got yesterday said she was new to Hagerstown. She must have been a Lyft user before coming to Hagerstown.

I don’t even want to know why she wanted to go to a 7-11 across town. There was a 7-11 much closer to where I picked her up. Since she didn’t know where the 7-11 was, I don’t think she had ever been there before.

Lyft is now in Hagerstown

Lyft, the ridesharing alternative to Uber, is now available in the city of Hagerstown. This means that if you need a ride to Walmart, the Valley Mall, or anywhere else, you can utilize the services of Lyft. Even if you need a ride to Baltimore or Washington DC, you can now take a Lyft to your destination.

Uber has been in the Hagerstown area for some time now. With all the negative publicity emanating from Uber as of late, it’s nice to know you now have an alternative.

Need a Lyft account? You can sign up by going here. You’ll even receive a free $5 just for signing up.

Uber increases its booking fee. What’s a booking fee?

Uber is increasing its booking fee by 20 to 35 cents. A booking fee is a fee Uber charges the rider on each ride. The driver does not receive any of this money. It goes entirely to Uber.

What is a booking fee? Uber says the fee is “to cover safety as well as additional operational costs that could arise in the future.

The booking fee use to be called the safe ride fee. They changed the name a result of a federal class action suit over Uber’s safety claims. Uber claimed that its background checks for drivers was “industry leading.”

Uber’s background checks are not industry leading. In fact, they’re the opposite. Uber has fought against laws that would need fingerprint-based background checks for its drivers. Uber threatened to leave the state of Maryland if it required fingerprint-based background checks.

The Maryland Public Service Commission caved. They decided not to require Uber drivers to have fingerprint-based criminal background checks.

Maryland requires taxi cab drivers to have fingerprint-based criminal background checks.

Uber increases its booking fee. What's a booking fee? - Bent Corner
MODOK, the bioengineered living computer Uber uses to set prices and fees. MODOK also answers all support questions from Uber drivers.

The booking fee increase is hitting markets on an individual basis. Once the bioengineered living computer Uber uses to determine prices decides how much of an increase a market will receive, the new booking fee will be announced to riders in that market.

Riders will always know before a trip begins how much that trip will cost. With Uber’s upfront fares, riders will always know how much they will pay, no matter what the booking fee is. The booking fee is included in the upfront fee.

Drivers never know how much they will receive from a ride until the ride is complete. In fact, drivers don’t know how far a trip will be until the rider is in the vehicle and the wheels begin to spin. A rider’s destination is kept secret from the driver until the last possible second. The reason? Because many drivers would not accept rides if they knew the riders was only going a few blocks. Most drivers lose money on these types of trips.

Drivers aren’t paid to drive to a rider’s pickup point. That means, as a driver, you can drive several miles away to pick up a rider and then only drive them a few blocks.

This has happened to me multiple times. This is one of the reasons I don’t drive for Uber very often.

The Baltimore Sun wants to protect me from ‘fake’ news?

I got an email from The Baltimore Sun with a special offer. The title of the email was, “2017 resolution: No more fake news! Only read trusted stories, $1.25 a week for a year.” In the body of the email was the following image:

We believe tall tales belong in libraries? Don’t they know that lots of people read The Baltimore Sun in libraries? When I was a kid, I liked going to the library to read newspapers and magazines. It was long before libraries became official unofficial daytime homeless shelters that they are today. At least the public library in Hagerstown is. I liked reading the newspapers at the library because they put them on long wooden poles. It made for a better, neater reading experience.

What I find hilarious with something like this is that the biggest propagator of “fake news” is the online version of traditional mainstream news media. For example, the following appears on the front page of The Baltimore Sun website:

The Baltimore Sun wants to protect me from 'fake' news? - Bent Corner

Really? What Angie Harmon looks like now is “insane”? What exactly does a person have to look like to be characterized as insane? Is she strapped to a special dolly wearing a no-bite facemask like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? That’s what it looks like to me when someone looks insane.

The Baltimore Sun wants to protect me from 'fake' news? - Bent Corner
Angie Harmon is that you?

Unless Angie Harmon now looks Hopkins in the above photo, the paid post on the front page of The Baltimore Sun website is highly misleading. I would even say that the paid post is fake. It’s not even an ad for Your Daily Dish. Not really. It’s a post like other posts on The Baltimore Sun, but what sets it apart from the others is that it’s a paid post.

Even a Jimmy Buffett fan can tell you that the Angie Harmon post is an ad, but The Baltimore Sun is pretending that it’s not an ad, they’re pretending that it’s a post.

Is Angie Harmon even financially compensated for having her image used in a paid advertisement? If it were an actual pure ad, she would need to agree to have her likeness used and whoever placed the ad would need to compensate her financially. If her photo appears in a post, she wouldn’t need to sign off on her likeness used, nor would the newspaper need to compensate her.

It’s stuff like this that gives me zero faith in the mainstream news media.