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Friday, January 15, 2016

Uber East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and San Francisco fares temporarily Reduced

Ridesharing services are not as lucrative as they were in 2013. UberX drivers once traveled from Sacramento to stay the weekend in San Francisco. They would make up to $600 in a single day. It was worth the trek because UberX drivers would finish the weekend making $1500 with no problems.

Good luck trying to make $600 in a week rather than in a day. Fares are at a historic low. The real winners are clients who are receiving cheap rides at the expense of drivers.

What happened to ridesharing services? Lyft can still offer $35 per hour to woo new drivers and reward existing drivers. Uber fares reduced so low that completing a traditional Berkeley to San Francisco Airport trip is now only $37, including bridge toll and airport fee included in this price. After Uber fees, safe ride fee, gas cost, airport fee, and toll cost, a driver stands to earn less than $20.

At one time, this trip would have earned an UberX driver close to $60. With limited surge pricing activating in the East Bay, Uber drivers are struggling to make decent fares.

We can honestly attribute the price meltdown to competition. Uber, Lyft and taxi services are trying to stay competitive, so price competition is the primary motivation to recruit new riders and maintain existing clients. Do luxury hotels drop their prices until they reach motel prices? No way!

Past Sunset and/or Richmond District trips to Downtown San Francisco once earned Uber drivers $30. Don't expect to make more than $15 on a non-surged trip.

Uber Winter guarantees are not that appealing. With these steep fare drops, the third in the past 18 months, many drivers are discouraged to take the road. Imagine if your employer cut your hourly pay 50%. This is exactly what Uber drivers are dealing with at this exact moment.

Price guarantees are influencing the freedom to drive wherever. Because Uber is guaranteeing higher hourly earnings in San Francisco, drivers must decide whether to stay in the North Bay, South Bay, and/or the East Bay, or choose to perform their ridesharing services in San Francisco.

The main problems driving in San Francisco are safety issues such as jaywalkers, bicycles, Muni, buses, traffic, no designated pickup and dropoff locations downtown, Parking Enforcement rushing to issue tickets, poor road conditions, construction, bridge traffic, longer than expected travel times (50 minutes from outer Sunset to Pier 27) and other problems. Clients still haven't learned about not requesting rides on Market Street, at bus stops, in bus/taxi lanes and at other bad locations.

Outer San Francisco drivers sacrifice making less money to keep their riders safe and avoid costly tickets that could put them in a serious dilemma. Another problem influencing driver earnings is that clients fail to contact drivers after dropping the pin miles away. It is their responsibility to notice inaccurate pin drops, because waiting to notify a driver after they reached the wrong address will delay a pickup and influence driver earnings.

There are so many problems to cover with the current shape of ridesharing, it would require months to discuss them all. Reducing fares to an all-time low could reduce the supply of vehicles on the road and activate surge pricing. East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and San Francisco fares are at their lowest ever. Guaranteed hourly earnings are manipulated, expecting drivers to meet specific requirements or get disqualified. Pricing competition is the worst thing that could happen to ridesharing.

Airport trips are no longer the ideal rides that drivers want to take. Between pickup times, waiting for clients to enter vehicle, travel to airport (traffic increases time), and destination drop-offs, drivers are investing too much time to make little money. Close airport trips increase the number of airport fees; therefore, several trips could cost drivers additional fees to complete these trips. A driver can make as little as $4 to complete an airport ride. Uber fee, safe ride and airport fees impact the total earnings. With recent rate reductions to meet slow demand, drivers are struggling to make money.

Last Friday, an Uber driver reported making only $65 working Friday night. It was extremely tough to find rides that would normally arrive with no problem. However, the rate reduction email arrived with hourly earning guarantees early that morning. It all made sense that business decline fueled price reductions and hourly guarantees.

Outside San Francisco drivers are losing out big time. They must decide whether to assume risk driving in San Francisco with no designated pickup locations downtown and near BART stations, or accept earning much less staying within their traditional area to avoid expensive tickets.

Another problem; there are no restrooms available in San Francisco after 10pm. Most businesses block restroom access to restrict homeless use. As you may know, homeless people seem to not care if they flood toilets, leave disgusting messes and steal food and eat it in stalls. This is the honest truth, which is primarily the reason no restroom access is permitted during the night hours.

Hopefully, business increases and fares return back to their usual prices. An increase in the number of minimum fare trips of $5.35 make ridesharing a minimum wage job. It is only a matter of time before drivers begin looking elsewhere for work. Despite this, some drivers have no choice but to survive these fare reductions because they are leasing vehicles from Uber programs. Catch 22s all around.

The real winners in the ridesharing industry are Lyft drivers and Uber clients. Lyft favors their drivers, whereas Uber sides with their clients.