Sunday, November 16, 2014

Uber phone rental $10 per week and no access to any basic features

Drive for UberX? Rent the Uber iPhone for $10 per week?

As you know, drivers are restricted from using this phone to make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, surf the web, upload Google Maps and download apps. This $10 per week phone can only be used to run the Uber driver app. That's it!

Uber started charging drivers a weekly rental fee for this phone at the beginning of fall season. A $10 equipment fee is deducted from each weekly direct deposit to cover equipment data. Top top this rental fee off, drivers are restricted from downloading Google Maps.

Unfortunately, drivers must depend on this one-dimensional in-app navigation feature that is not Google-enabled and/or Apple Maps to guide them. Rather than use this in-app navigation and unreliable Apple Maps, drivers elect to activate GPS devices on their personal phones.

Drivers are blocked access from making and taking basic voice calling and text messaging features. Therefore, these drivers must always keep their personal phone accessible at all times to accept calls and monitor text messages. Clients call and text often. Drivers are expected to respond promptly or risk client complaints to support. On this Uber phone, calls and text messages are blocked.

Drivers pay $10 per week for this equipment and can't access Google Maps. Seriously? No Google Maps. There is no wireless capability to surf the web. No app download access. No email use. What is this Uber iPhone good for? It is just for Ubering. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thinking about returning this phone? Want Uber to upload the Uber driver app on a personal phone? Contact your local Partners via email in most cities and/or go into the San Francisco Uber headquarters (if you lived in the Bay Area) to request this driver app for personal phones.

Paying out $10 per week for a phone with limited capabilities is far too expensive. At least enabling download of Google Maps could lessen the pain of using this Uber phone. Not a chance, because drivers are practically stuck using this phone at $10 per week. Make the move to have this Uber driver app uploaded on a personal phone.

Uber is taking away the free perks. No free equipment use. No free rider referral business cards (make your own or order from Vista Print). No $1 safe ride fee to offset high commission. Reduced prices to benefit clients. Drivers wait 8-10 days to receive pay for rides given on Monday-Wednesday (clients are charged right away), making driving a challenge because of expensive overhead expenses.

UberX drivers must work their tails off to earn their fares. The basic essentials are no longer free to drivers. Will drivers be expected to pay for mediocre support soon? What is next on the charge list?

Fortunately, UberX drivers have access to a wide Uber user base. They can move around California to make income driving on the Uber ride platform. This is the best part of Uber.

Driving in the same city, day-in day-out, can discourage drivers. In San Francisco, the following problems represent a daily challenge for UberX drivers:
  • Excessive traffic
  • Road closures delay trips and impact star ratings. 
  • Deep potholes and Muni and Cable Car tracks eat up tires. 
  • Steep hills wear down brakes. 
  • City driving reduces gas mileage 
  • Intense driving = frequent oil changes
  • Toll charges traveling into the city on multiple fees. 
  • 1-way roads and no Left turns increase travel time and distance, thus adding to this trip cost. 
  • Limited drop-off areas increase parking ticket/bus zone fines. 
  • Homeless people jaywalk and create an accident risk. 
  • Bicyclists in slow lane = accident risk
  • Using the restroom at night is a major challenge. Nothing open and if there are places, they are extremely filthy. 
  • No ride filters kick back Marin County ride requests to SF drivers who are positioned in the Marina District. 
  • Expensive gas reduce fuel fill-ups. 
  • There is a charge to poor water in vehicles. 
  • Market Street pickups can result in traffic tickets. 
  • Designated taxi and bus lanes limit lane usage. 
  • Vomiting clients are more common in the city than in smaller regions. 
  • Rude taxi drivers creating conflict (honking, tailgating, quick starting and stopping, and etc). 
  • Rude clients wanting star treatment.
  • Frequent cancellations. 
  • Inpatient clients not seeing that drivers must re-route after ride requests to reach them. 
  • Clogged up streets delay trips (Gough is the worst).
  • Clients take take too long to show up (as long as 30 minutes)
  • In downtown area, no left turns on Market and Mission Street
  • Limited turns on Lombard Street and in the Sunset District. 
  • Fight and flight reaction on physical body. 
  • Limited parking - greater chance of tickets because parking attendants in private parking lots scan cars every 4-5 hours and give out parking tickets to identical cars. Going to stores in the morning, and then returning in the afternoon can result in a ticket. Poor system in place. 
  • Special events congest downtown region. 
  • Clients don't take surge priced rides as often as before. 
  • Downtime driving to find rides. 
  • Poor support to return lost client items. 2-3 days turnaround time. 
  • Slow support response time to help with technical difficulties experienced with driver app in poor coverage areas. 
All of these obstacles are not as bad as paying $10 per week for a phone with limited capabilities. If drivers lose this Uber iPhone, they will be out of luck. No driving, no earning. If the Uber driver app is uploaded on a personal phone, this driver may experience technical issues that delay driving. However, drivers who are ridesharing experts can withstand these challenges and earn consistent fares. Keep the Uber phone at $10 per week, or save with the personal driver app. 

Contact Uber to discuss swapping the Uber phone out with a personal driver app. Stay safe and be efficient. Uber on!  

Signup to become an Uber driver here. Get $600 after you complete 20 trips in November 2015!