Travis Kalanick Resigns as CEO of Uber

Uber’s founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down as CEO after he was pressured to do so by Uber’s investors. He was to take an indefinite leave of absence as CEO so he could “work on himself” and grieve for his departed mother. Kalanick’s mother died last month as a result of a boating accident.

Kalanick will stay on the board, he just won’t be in charge. Good. Travis Kalanick is so evil and universally despised, he should wear a black cape and helmet respirator.

I figured something like this was going on when I got an email from Uber yesterday. Here’s part of it:

Dear B342cb8a104fb90c71b3c108bc765557,

I like the new name Uber gave me. I normally go by Rick or if we’re being fancy or in a court of law, Richard.

We’ve heard you. You’ve told us what you want, and now it’s time we step up and give you the driving experience you deserve, because simply put, Uber wouldn’t exist without you.

Today, we’re making a commitment. For the next 180 days (and beyond) we’ll be making meaningful changes & improvements to your driving experience. Some changes will be big, some will be small — all will be the changes you’ve asked for.

Each month for the next 6 months, we’ll share major improvements that will make driving more flexible and less stressful, giving you earnings & support you can depend on.

Starting today: Earnings

To kick-off 180 Days of Change we’re launching the feature you’ve asked for most.

1.Tipping is Coming

Tipping is available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston as of today. We’re starting with only 3 cities so we can create the best tipping experience for you and your riders. We’ll be adding more cities over the next few weeks, and will make tips available to all U.S. drivers, by the end of July 2017. Of course, Uber service fees are never deducted from your tips. Learn more.

2. Shorter 2 Minute Cancellation Window

You’ll receive a cancellation fee if your rider cancels after more than 2 minutes (down from 5 minutes previously).

3. No More Unpaid Wait-times

You will earn a per-minute rate if you wait for a rider, starting 2 minutes after arrival.

There was more to the email, but these were the major points, at least for me. These are the things drivers have asked for a very long time.

Under the iron fist of Travis Kalanick, drivers were never getting any of these things. He seemed to look at drivers as a temporary unfortunate necessity. He seemed to believe Uber was just a month or two away from using a fleet of autonomous robot cars and the lifeforms known as drivers would be relocated to special work camps where they would be forced to speak North Korean and build autonomous robot cars.

Under Travis Kalanick it didn’t matter what drivers thought or what they wanted.

Tip? Tip? Can I have a tip?

Personally, I’ve never cared about tips. I’d rather have someone be nice to me and leave a five-star review than hand me a dollar or two. I’ve never worked in the service industry where tips were part of the gig, so people handing me free money always seemed weird. When I tip in a restaurant, I never hand the waitress or waiter the tip. I leave it on the table.

New two-minute cancellation window

The two-minute cancellation fee is very important to me. I’ve had people cancel right before the five-minute mark and I was paid nothing for my time, miles, or troubles.

Hurry up and wait

I’ve pulled up to someone’s pick up point and then had to wait while they finished up whatever they were doing before they came outside and got in the car. Once I had a person wait about five minutes to come outside. They then proceeded to take their empty trash cans from the front of the house and return them to the back. I couldn’t start the trip until they got into the car.

There needs to be two per-minute rates

The per-minute rate shouldn’t be used for waiting. It’s not even minimum wage. In Hagerstown and the rest of western Maryland, it’s .1125 per minute. That works out to be $6.75 an hour.

There needs to be two different per-minute rates, one when driving and another when the driver is waiting on the passenger. The standard per-minute rate is normally added to the per-mile rate. In Hagerstown and the rest of western Maryland, that’s .825 per mile. When it takes you 15 minutes to drive ten miles, that works out to be a $9.94 fare, plus the base fare of $1.13 making the 15 minute, ten-mile trip a total of $11.07. For that and only that, the per-minute rate is fine.

When a passenger requests that you pull into McDonald’s so they can run in and pick up lunch, forcing you to wait in the parking lot for ten minutes, the per-minute rate is most definitely not fine.

You only earn $1.12 while waiting ten minutes on a passenger. That’s not right.

When you’re waiting on the passenger on a stop the passenger requested during the trip, the per-minute rate should switch to the per-mile rate.

According to Uber, they’ll be rolling out more changes over the next 180 days. Hopefully that will be one the changes.

Fawzi Kamel is a terrible Uber driver

Bloomberg published a video of Fawzi Kamel, an UberBlack driver, arguing with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The argument took place during an Uber trip.

The argument was over Uber lowering its fares. Uber has lowered fares riders pay for the UberX service. UberX is a normal four-door sedan and is the most common Uber product. When I driver for Uber, I drive as an UberX driver. UberBlack is Uber’s luxury car product. Uber has never lowered fares for UberBlack.

Not only did Kamel argue with Kalanick, he recorded the argument on video.

The video is a little over six minutes long and is strange, to say the least. It starts out showing Kalanick and his two guests riding and listening to music. Kalanick is not wearing a seatbelt. He is seen grooving to the music. The argument doesn’t begin until four minutes in.

Kamel told Kalanick that nobody trusts Kalanick. Kamel told Kalanick that he lost $97,000 dollars because of Kalanick. Kamel told Kalanick that he’s bankrupt because of Kalanick.

Kalanick ended the argument by telling Kamel, “You know what? Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck.

I don’t understand how Fawzi Kamel lost $97,000 or went bankrupt because of Travis Kalanick. Will Bloomberg publish a follow-up article explaining how Kalanick is responsible for Kamel losing $97,000 and going bankrupt? Whatever happened to the five W’s of journalism? Bloomberg’s article seems pretty light on the facts.

Kamel came off in the video looking obnoxious and rude. He has poor customer service skills. If the rider were anyone other than Uber’s disliked CEO, Kamel would lose his gig with Uber.

What state did this ride take place? If it was California, where Uber is based, recording Kalanick and his guests was an illegal act. California is a two-party consent state. That means Kalanick, his guests, and Kamel would all need to consent to the recording. There’s nothing in the video that indicates Kalanick or his guests knew they were being recorded. No matter what the law is, recording someone in a non-public location without their consent is a scumbag thing to do.

The thing that bothers me the most in the video is Travis Kalanick is not wearing a seatbelt. Fawzi Kamel should never have started the trip until he verified everyone was buckled up. Safety first.

If that’s the way he treats the CEO of Uber, I have to wonder how he treats regular passengers. I imagine it’s not very good. When I watched this video, I finally understood why Uber wants to use driverless cars.