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Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Set a Destination" feature is useless on Uber

"Set a Destination" feature is available on the Uber driver app. Uber drivers can set a destination and the system will connect them with trips that only travel in that direction. Why push this feature?

Uber gives their drivers 2 opportunities per day to activate the highly coveted destination feature. In small fine print, Uber warns "Trips, hours, and fares received towards your destination do not count toward your." We assume "your" means your promotions. Basically, no trips taken under this feature count towards any promotions. That seems unfair! 

If you're trying to accomplish any of the weekly and/or weekend goals, please avoid setting the destination feature because you won't get credit and could waste your time. Our best advice is to go offline and take a break, or just go home and drive again later on. 

Uber drivers should not be penalized for setting the home feature. For the most part, Uber encourages their drivers to use this feature to maximize earnings while returning back home. Nevertheless, none of the trips taken and hours worked under this feature count toward promotional goals. Perhaps, encouraging this feature will limit the number of bonuses to be paid out. 

Uber drivers deserve the best treatment. They make Uber possible. We always hear that riders have the power of influence. To be clear and straight to the point, riders need transportation services; they rely on ride services to get around. Taxi services are frowned upon, so riders prefer ridesharing services. 

As many people know, ridesharing drivers are independent contractors. They have far more flexibility than most company drivers. Chauffeur drivers must accept all scheduled trips. They're pressured to make drop-offs and retrieve pick-ups. Under all this stress, chauffeur drivers make peanut pay. 

Uber drivers are measured via ratings, comments and reports, cancellations, and acceptance rate. They have a right to decline a trip if they feel unsafe. Uber drivers have access to around the clock support through their driver app. Their partnership matters to Uber. 

If a chauffeur driver declined a trip, they would have to file a report of doing this with their company. Chauffeur drivers also accept a meager 40% of all pay, excluding the 60% cut their companies take for supplying a car, gas, and car washes. Make $100k and only see $40k minus taxes. All that driving to make unappealing earnings driving around rude rich executives. 

In any case, setting a destination to travel home is a risky feature. Do you like making your weekly/weekend promotions? Drive home the normal way rather than use this in-app feature to pad your earnings. If you keep accepting trips that take you backwards, go offline. Have a safe day driving! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No credit for outside trips

Uber drivers cannot predict rider destinations ahead of pickups. Most drivers find motivation chasing after the required trip requirements to earn extra bonuses and incentives. However, Uber conceals destination data until drivers start a trip. Furthermore, Uber won't give drivers appropriate credit for taking long trips into conflicting regions that aim to undermine these bonuses.

Uber launched a popular driver promotion last year. This promotion encouraged many drivers to get on the road and replace earnings lost quickly after fares were slashed to all-time lows. Drivers reclaimed their earning potential, but experienced setbacks unknowingly accepting longer trips (1-3 hours long) and taking conflicting rides (San Francisco). Unfortunately, Uber has no in-app feature to notify drivers of longer trips using color coded warnings, reveal exact destinations, and alert them of city trips.

How many drivers lose valuable bonuses? Many drivers continue to lose thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, Uber leaves their drivers in the dark: No destinations, no warnings, no alert notifications. Riders question the reason their drivers make phone calls to request destinations, cancel trips at pickup addresses and decline long trips. Nevertheless, riders now understand the motivation behind these driver calls.

Uber won't give their drivers any slack. If drivers miss trip requirements by one or two trips, Uber will not give them any special favors. Uber drivers will be knocked down to the next bonus tier or totally lose out if there is only one bonus. It's unfortunate that no system is in place to offer a push--margin of error to round up or allow drivers to build credit so they can use these coins to reach trip requirements that activate bonuses.

Drivers are disheartened to miss their trip requirements. Riders take their drivers on extremely long trips to compromise these incentives. Imagine that these drivers are on the brink of reaching trip requirements, but their riders request a long trip and Uber conceals this destination data until pickup. Hundreds of dollars can be lost per week from completing a long trip. Sadly, losing valuable money can disrupt drivers such as blocking them from getting gas, making important repairs, and performing necessary maintenance to keep active on the Uber platform.

What Uber can do to help their drivers? Introduce a point system that gives their drivers credit for driving during specific times. If needed, these drivers can use these points as a boost. For example, a driver is a few trips away from reaching a bonus and time is quickly running out. They could use points to boost them up to the next incentive. If the max trip incentive is 120 and the next tier is 70, Uber drivers can easily miss the top bonus - by a few rides - after taking long trips or city trips involving major traffic that waste valuable time.

Drivers know the moment a trip is started whether they will reach a bonus or be denied these extra earnings. With 90 minutes to spare and a few trips away, a driver receives a blind request they assume will keep them in the area. However, this UberX trip will travel 2+ hours and won't allow any connections (UberPool). Final outcome: Driver misses valuable incentive.

Another potential problem is when a rider requests a ride. This driver needs this last trip to reach their bonus. Once the driver reaches the pickup address with little time to spare, the rider cancels. As a result of this action, the Uber driver misses the bonus.

On one occasion, a driver drove an Uber client's friend home. When this driver reached a few minutes from the final destination, the client canceled the trip. The driver received fare credit from the pickup address to the moment of cancellation, but this canceled trip took 40 minutes and went into a slow area did not count as a ride.

UberRush trips are not counted toward promotions. If drivers monitor their promotions, they will see that UberRush delivery trips are exempt from promotions.

Uber encourages their drivers to use the destination to home feature. However, no trips taken while in this mode will count toward any promotions and incentives. What is the purpose of using this feature? Drivers may complete several trips that will only pay them for fares. No trip credit is given.

One major problem area is a trip that takes a driver to a region that is outside of promotion requirements. Given this, no trips completed in this region will count as a trip. If a rider takes their driver to Sacramento, this region is outside of the Bay Area and any trips take there won't count.

There are so many ways for drivers to lose out on valuable promotions. It's sad that thousands of dollars can be lost from taking blind requests. Moreover, drivers are hooked to requests that riders eventually cancel. This action can/will remove drivers from available ride requests. Many Uber drivers are missing target goals, which lead us to believe that Uber policies and riders contribute to these lost earnings.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

San Francisco blame ridesharing drivers for traffic: Can drivers blame riders for traffic?

Ridesharing app users are getting spoiled with the very technology that gives them major flexibility. Recently, San Francisco blamed ridesharing drivers for clogging up the roads and creating traffic. One of their major gripes are drivers double-parking. Why do drivers need to double-park?

Riders request rides to their pickup address. It's all too common, a repetitive theme, that riders will watch drivers travel to retrieve them and won't be ready to accept these rides. Even after an initial text message and a call 5 minutes later, these riders are still no-shows. However, riders are quick to call the moment a driver accepts a request - questioning the ETA and why they're taking too long.

San Francisco can continue blaming ridesharing drivers for their traffic problem. Drivers can blame riders for failing to be ready. When riders are no-shows and/or late to accept rides, this causes most drivers to double-park for longer periods of time. As a result of this action, busy roads such as Franklin, Gough, Bush, and Mission can get congested because motorists must move around double-parked vehicles. Mail trucks, delivery trucks, and other vehicles are also double-parked on busy streets.

As most know, city bus drivers power through city streets with audacity. Forget the traffic laws, MTA drivers make their own rules. Watch out when your light turns green. On the opposing side of street, there may be a bus driver running a red light with a full bus of riders.

Let's not even discuss the crazy driving of taxi drivers. They also rely on double-parking to retrieve passengers. We don't hear any criticism directed toward them. At the same time, these "Bat out of Hell" drivers increase the risk of accidents with their "no hold barred" driving style.

If riders were ready to accept rides, ridesharing drivers could avoid double-parking at higher rates than normal. One way to avoid dealing with late riders: Cancel them 5 minutes after you arrive. With UberPool, watch the 2 minute timer and cancel when it expires. Teach riders a valuable lesson to be on time or risk paying a fee and not getting a ride. Nonetheless, riders will express anger and spread lies to make their drivers appear heartless. There are reasons that some drivers act the way they do.

Respect goes both ways. Drivers should respect their riders. If riders disrespect them, they can take action using the rating system. On the inverse, riders can also use the rating system to warn the ride community of poor drivers. The underlying issues that contribute to traffic on busy streets: (1) Riders request rides to busy areas (2) Wait took long to show-up (3) No-shows (4) Requested wrong pickup address (5) Request drivers to wait for them.

San Francisco blamed ridesharing drivers for creating massive traffic congestion. So many factors outside of ridesharing contribute to traffic. Drivers should follow the cancellation rules to the letter. Show up to exact address, wait 5 minutes, and then cancel. If UberPool, wait for timer to expire after 2 minutes and cancel trip. This action will improve traffic flow. It will also teach riders to stop making drivers wait, especially when they could be ready during the 'En Route' process.

Drivers will make their well-deserved cancellation fee and can move to the next fare. Meanwhile, no-show riders and those who lack knowledge of ride platforms will eventually speed up their learning curve after losing money and time. Time = money. Both sides have much to lose. If drivers follow ride policies, they have nothing to worry about. In the meantime, riders delaying the pickup process is one reason there is traffic in San Francisco.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

San Francisco blaming Ridesharing for Traffic Problem

San Francisco is pointing the finger at ridesharing drivers for creating congestion in their city. There are a wide range of factors causing SF to turn into a parking garage. Ridesharing services are not solely to blame for backing up roads and blocking overall flow. For the most part, the traffic problem is much larger than car service drivers moving people around in a busy city.

Well before ridesharing launched in San Francisco, the ride community struggled to move around this sanctuary city. Most people relied on public transportation to reach work, go to airports, attend conventions, and travel between bars and restaurants. During these dark years, passengers never thought of convenience and quality service. On the flip side, taxis focused on completing a high number of trips to cover overhead costs. It's definitely expensive and tiring to work as a taxi driver. 

Another mode of travel within the city and between outside regions: BART. This train service operates under strict hours, complicating daily travel plans for those dependent on train services throughout the Bay Area. Moreover, munis and buses involved in accidents delay travel and disrupt travel schedules. Those people who rely on these transportation services are left in the dark on the status of their ride. People can't accept constant delays because their lives depend on timely service. For the most part, ridesharing services compensate for mishaps that ground SF city services.

It's no secret that BART employees have gone on strike numerous times. When these strikes happen, the traffic problem in San Francisco worsens. BART drivers make a bundle operating this Bay Area transit service. Ridesharing services make peanuts providing a popular service.

After expenses and commission, most ridesharing drivers make less than minimum wage workers. If we compare city transportation employees versus ridesharing service drivers, it's obvious who makes more and who makes less money. Who is being put down and who is being praised? Ridesharing drivers get a bad wrap for being available 24 hours a day. We can't rely on BART to transport people. They're unavailable during early Sunday hours. This is mainly the reason people choose ridesharing services to take early airport flights.    

Taxis developed a bad reputation with their passengers. On so many occasions, taxi drivers refused to drive passengers into the Sunset and Richmond districts. Furthermore, these taxi drivers yelled at passengers who desired to pay using a credit card. They even threatened passengers. Because there were limited car services available, cab drivers could push back passengers and not receive any punishment modeling this poor treatment.

We hear our passengers tell their taxi stories often. There's no reason for these riders to tell white lies. The taxi industry deserved their fate; they put so many of their passengers in tight positions. Fortunately, ridesharing drivers are accountable for their actions under a star rating and feedback system. Ride app services and the ride community are now pushing back against the taxi industry.

San Francisco recently criticized ridesharing drivers. They blame these app ride services for congestion within their city. They hide the real truth about their traffic congestion. Bad roads, construction, no left turns on Mission and Market, (only taxis and buses), one-way streets, designated red lanes (taxis and buses), no left between 7am-7pm and on some streets block these turns during commute times, limited parking, jaywalkers, bicycles, tourism, high number of daily workers commuting into city, sports games, concerts, conventions, and many additional factors block smooth flow. If SF wants to blame Uber and Lyft, they should also consider delivery drivers that must also double park to make pickups and deliveries.

It's a nightmare to locate ample parking in SF. When delivery drivers double-park, they face San Francisco Parking Enforcement officers issuing them citations. If SF would make additional loading zones available, this could resolve part of the traffic problem. However, SF would probably lose out on ticket revenue. They would refrain from compromising this revenue stream.

How can San Francisco resolve their traffic nightmare? They need to improve their road conditions. Deep potholes slow down traffic because drivers weave around these disastrous holes. Allow ridesharing drivers to make left turns like taxis and buses. Stop blocking access to parking, where there are "No Parking" or we'll tow you labels in perfect good spots. This action restricts parking spaces, forcing many drivers to double-park on busy streets. Give ridesharing drivers access to red lanes (only taxis and buses permitted). Nevertheless, jay-walkers walk out in heavy traffic and across crosswalks while lights are green. Police officers must issue citations to reduce jaywalking. Opening left turns on Mission and on Lombard Street could improve the flow of traffic. Performing road improvement at night would reduce traffic condition on busy streets such as Divisadero and Lombard. Lastly, timing lights better on busy streets, especially at night, could move traffic.

Horrible traffic conditions in San Francisco exist for many reasons beyond ridesharing services. Thankfully, the ride community now have access to reliable transportation services that won't let them down. San Francisco is also requiring all ridesharing drivers who work more than 7 days a year to obtain a business permit. The city waited until California courts designated drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, which Uber gladly agreed to pay out a hefty sum to settle this debate once and for all. It's a huge victory for Uber; however, drivers are losing out with having to pay for business permits. San Jose Airport is also requiring drivers to obtain business permits, as well.

San Francisco can't have their cake and eat it, too. Do you want millions in annual revenue from business permits? Or do you prefer to keep spreading fake news about ridesharing drivers creating traffic? Make the best decision to reduce your traffic problem. If you limit ridesharing, you'll ruin a quality service that most of your residents require daily. Point the fingers around, instead of using ridesharing drivers as a scapegoat for your poor decision-making abilities.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

New Rider App shaping up to become a disaster

Uber clients have expressed major disappointment in the new Uber rider app. This app continues to plot riders at different locations. Furthermore, there is an extended delay in notifying riders of driver arrivals.

One chef was furious about the new app. With every requested ride, the pickup address appears to shift within a few blocks to several blocks away. He shared it's tougher to move between Uber services. Nevertheless, inputting pickup addresses require additional work.

Some clients don't know they can bypass the current location to input another address.

Another loyal Uber client referred to this new app as unnecessary. He shared wrong pickup addresses are frequent enough to become a growing problem. There are delays in the customary rider notification, as these clients assume their drivers are still driving to retrieve them.

Many additional riders indicated the rider app put them in rides they prefer to not take. In example, several riders need an UberX ride and somehow an UberPool is booked.

Share what problems you're experiencing using the new Uber rider app at #NewUberRiderApp on Twitter. 

Friday, December 02, 2016

Stop canceling trips while in progress

There are some Uber clients who attempt to block Uber drivers from accomplishing weekly goals. As you may know, Uber drivers are offered incentives to complete an X amount of trips per week.

Recently, we noticed that clients are ordering rides for other friends and canceling these trips once they near the destination. These clients do this often enough to identify in-trip cancelations as a recurring problem Uber must address. 

When this issue is brought to the attention of Uber support, they don't understand. They really don't know! You can keep explaining this ride cancellation to them, but they keep telling you don't worry you got paid for this trip. This is not the issue we're trying to resolve; we know we got paid for the fare up to the point of cancellation. No matter how many times you try, Uber support just doesn't get it. 

Simple facts: Riders order a ride for a friend/family/stranger. Driver transports this person to their intended destination. Unfortunately, this rider cancels the trip before a driver reaches the destination. Although the trip pays the driver a fare from pickup address to time of cancellation, this trip is not counted toward the promotion. It is a cancelled trip! Are you getting this Uber Support? 

When that time comes on early Monday morning to accomplish trip milestones, some drivers are missing their trip goals by a ride or two. It is because you don't understand this issue with clients complicating the process by canceling trips while they are in progress. 

We know one driver who has experienced this problem several times, maybe even a few dozen times. Every single time this driver notifies Uber Support of the same issue, they continue to point out that this driver got paid for that specific ride. Who cares about the fare? The trip, itself, is the issue in hand. 

If a driver fails to reach the 120 trip incentive for $500, they only qualify to receive a $140 bonus for 50 trips. This is a huge difference in earnings, especially if clients get cancel happy and show a lack of respect for Uber drivers.

The next time, clients should try their best to allow trips to traditionally end. Stop canceling trips before they end, because your actions are impacting driver earnings. If drivers fail to reach trip incentives as a result of your in-ride cancellations, you are to blame for this setback.  

Where will a driver go to find another ride at 3am-4am in the morning to replace the one you cancelled? Better yet, you requested this driver to transport a friend to the slowest city in the Bay Area. Then, you cancel the trip while in progress to put this driver at risk of legal issues.   

After this cancellation occurs mid-ride, drivers may receive another ride request. At this time, there are all kind of problems that can happen: Driving a rider without an active ride in progress can potentially expose drivers to insurance lapses if an accident should unexpectedly happen.  

Uber has still yet to understand that no cancelled trips are counted toward trip milestones. This includes canceled trips while trips are in progress. The moment this trip is canceled, the fare is calculated from pickup address to the cancellation location.

However, this driver must take this rider home without an active trip in progress. There are risks involved, so try your best to be respectful of drivers who choose to drive your friends, family, co-workers and you to destinations.  

Most Absurd Question

Uber drivers are super trendy in this technological-driven time. Everyday people request Uber to supplement their daily transportation needs. Uber is the quickest way to summon rides and reach intended destinations in a reasonable time.

All of a sudden, new drivers are now asking whether they can bring along another friend to keep them company and/or a bodyguard for protection purposes while they perform ridesharing services.  This is the most absurd question ever asked concerning Uber. 

Seasoned Uber drivers understand all seats must be free to seat all riders. They also realize that clients may feel uncomfortable, even antsy to ride Uber. Most people have their comfort zone, so crossing this line can create negative experiences. The star rating system measures client personal perception of drivers. 

If new and/or existing Uber drivers bring along another co-rider, this can result in bad ratings and negative feedback. A client may also complain to Uber about this driver. It also makes other Uber drivers look unprofessional, as uninformed riders assume another UberPool rider is their friend.  

Don't bring another co-rider along for any rides. If you're an Uber driver working on any given day, please keep all babies, kids, friends, significant others, pets, bodyguards and family members at home. 

Ridesharing services are intended to be performed without extra baggage, unless, of course, your clients must store personal items inside your private vehicles. It will likely freak clients out to see other people not part of UberPool riding along during their trips. 

Just think about how you feel if your Uber driver transported an unauthorized person. At times, clients do get confused on how UberPool works. Some clients have assumed a rider sitting upfront is a friend, when in fact they selected the wrong service.

On several occasions, riders have questioned the identity of front riders. They ask if this person is their friend, are they training this individual, or who the hell is this person? It's professional to introduce new riders to existing riders just like you would house guests.   

Uber has not done a poor job with rider education. A portion of riders are left in the dark about how Uber works. They don't have any indication of a rider rating system, that pin drops can shift further away from pickup addresses, wrong destinations are inputted, wrong number of riders for UberPool, over-seating that can put driver at risk, and additional challenges, confront most Uber drivers. 

In regards to co-riders,  Uber drivers must remain solo while online. Don't bring any person in your vehicle that is not part of UberX and/or UberPool. Exercise good integrity to ensure all clients feel comfortable during trips, which means you must leave all additional riders at home. 

If you need a bodyguard to ride along, you're definitely in the wrong line of work. You may as well become a celebrity so you have a reason to be protected in your personal ride.  

Good luck and Happy Ridesharing!