Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Uber client, "Back-to-Back ride is Manipulating"

An Uber client recently shared that he believes the back-to-back ride option is manipulative. It wouldn't be manipulative if drivers could disable this feature. However, there is no way to turn this back-to-back ride option off. Do Uber drivers really have the freedom to make decisions while driving?

For example, an Uber driver is driving 3 UberPool clients to their destinations. Meanwhile, this Uber driver must use the restroom really bad and can't go offline quick enough before another ride request arrives. When this driver drops off one client, another UberPool request arrives to replace the previous rider. 3-6 minutes before the last UberPool rider reaches their destination, a back-to-back ride flashes.

Uber tells their drivers to ignore this back-to-back ride request. If drivers ignore this request, the same exact riders are requesting again. It is highly possible for another rider to request a trip. Uber drivers can't ignore these ride requests, considering that Uber has be known to send a text message out to notify the driver of not accepting this UberPool ride request and that riders rely on them to get around.

Uber drivers can't ignore a back-to-back request while on a current trip. The moment this driver ignores the back-to-back request, another request is arriving once again. While on hourly guarantees, the driver stands to lose out on acceptance rate of 90%. Thus, drivers are manipulated into accepting these ride requests. On the contrary; drivers can cancel this ride, and then go offline. If drivers do this action enough times, Uber sends out a warning on cancellations and that this repeated activity can result in future deactivation.

Without a disable option, Uber drivers are expected to accept back-to-back rides. On the former Sidecar driver app, drivers could disable the back-to-back ride feature. Drivers could enable and disable trip filters to keep them in specific regions. This ridesharing company had it all figured out, but they couldn't survive the dominance of Uber and Lyft. Uber has no option to temporarily disable back-to-back rides. Why would drivers want to disable back-to-back rides?

Back-to-back ride is a reliable feature to connect drivers before their current trip ends. However, drivers who need to use the restroom and/or need to some time to rest are controlled by this feature. These drivers understand that Uber will disqualify them from hourly promotions for missing acceptance rate requirements. It is not their fault for ignoring a request. As a result of ignoring requests that reduce their acceptance rate below the minimum requirements, Uber will disqualify their drivers for receiving hourly matches.

In the 11pm-2am weekend promotions, there is no room for error. Reject a back-to-back ride; you'll get disqualified for acceptance rate of 90%. It is unlikely you will receive greater than 10 requests in this 3-hour time span. Drivers need 10 ride requests to arrive to absorb a missed ride request. If they shut the app down, they lose money. If they ignore a back-to-back ride request, another request can/will arrive again before their current trip is completed.

What if drivers travel into San Francisco on an East Bay promotion? Remember, these drivers must start 66% of all their trips in the East Bay. Uber will disqualify drivers for missing this mark. What if a back-to-back ride request arrives in a non-qualifying region? And this ride request is an UberPool? These drivers face disqualification accepting this particular ride.

On a typical weekend night, UberPool trips connect drivers with two additional riders. Once a rider is dropped off, the system connects them with another ride since the system possibly detects there are open seats. Simply put, drivers will enter busy areas with many ride requests. If these drivers move further away from the East Bay, they lose time/money traveling back to this qualifying region. Keep in mind, this same process can disqualify San Francisco drivers from receiving promotional matches.

A simply solution to give drivers the freedom to accept and/or reject riders is integrating a disable/enable button. At times, drivers are more than ready to accept all back-to-back rides. However, drivers have human needs such as using the restroom, taking a break, eating food, and drinking fluids. Their motivation is to transport riders and make money performing this job. Making money is not worth the risk to sacrifice future health, as well as jeopardize the safety of their riders.

Uber drivers understand their limits. The moment they sense fatigue, they will go offline to get rest. A good portion of drivers don't live in the areas they service; they must drive to these areas.

Waiting to use the restroom is torture. Uber employees should try this activity in their air-conditioned space. Hold your bladder until it feels like it will burst, and then race to the restroom to release this waste. If you do this enough, you will develop a UTI and kidney infections. Do you not care about the health of your drivers?

At least Uber employees have the freedom to use restroom facilities. Uber drivers are constantly blocked from using restrooms throughout the night in Bay Area locations. Gas stations who are open for business lock their doors at 8:30pm and refuse their restrooms. Homeless people ruin it for everyone in San Francisco. Most store facilities are locked under a key; patrons are turned away from using these restrooms. Additionally, stores are known to put up blocks on restrooms for maintenance reasons.

It is simple to tell your drivers to ignore back-to-back ride requests and go offline. Nevertheless, these drivers may get disqualified from promotional matches. They face future deactivation canceling trips. Their long-term health is on the brink of ruin. Uber drivers are quickly becoming android machines.

The best solution to give your drivers the freedom to operate is developing a 1-button feature to push. Drivers can push this button once they reach the point of no return (need immediate rest and/or use restroom). On the last trip, drivers push this button so they won't receive a back-to-back ride request.

Back-to-back ride requests manipulate drivers and steal their freedom. Uber drivers have some freedom, but they are losing their ability to make decisions. Maintaining back-to-back rides without a disable and enable button and/or not creating a 1-button feature for last trip show that your company is condoning this controlling feature. You make it acceptable for your drivers to ruin their future health.

Think about the next time your system denies your drivers a promotional match. This unfair action of disqualifying drivers from making additional money is unethical, because you motivate drivers to get on the road and use manipulation to make them choose whether to use the restroom or keep accepting trips. Choose money? Choose health? There is no right to choose. Uber drivers must protect their health and well-being.

If Uber drivers continue to hold their bladders, they may develop kidney disease. Maybe not now, but in the long run their motivation to make money now will soon catch up to them later. Preventing liquid intake to avoid using the restroom, especially on a hot day, is a recipe for disaster. Experiencing dehydration is not a fun activity. Health concerns are rarely covered on the risk of rideshare driving.

Think about it Uber. Ask your powerhouse company: Do our drivers really matter to us? Integrate a new disable and enable option for back-to-back rides. Give drivers some slack on trips going into non-qualifying regions, because you continue to disqualify drivers from hourly matches once their trip origination percentage falls below 66%.

Reason this disqualification occurs; drivers are unable to reject rides in non-qualifying regions or they face acceptance rate disqualification. They must maintain 66% trip origination and 90% acceptance rate. This back-to-back ride feature complicates the promotional process. The double-edged sword rule is in place here. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Most importantly, Uber should be concerned with the health of their drivers. We don't care about what gas stations will give us a fuel discount. We want access to restroom facilities to empty our bladders. It is not easy holding our bladders until we complete trips, and then go on an impossible search to find open restrooms.

If your company really cares about its drivers, figure out a better way they can use the restroom at night when most businesses refuse them. Maybe Uber drivers can show proof of their driver status to give them permission to use the restroom. Something has to give.

All of these problems are in result of a back-to-back ride feature that complicates the driving process. Drivers have no way to temporarily disable this feature. They appreciate Uber for connecting them with ride requests while on current trips. It is nice to complete many trips and make money doing this. However, drivers need to reclaim their freedom to choose whether to take a trip or reject it.

Uber tells these drivers to not worry and reject a back-to-back trip and go offline. In the week-end statement, drivers are getting disqualified from promotional matches for rejecting rides. If these drivers accept trips in non-qualifying regions, they risk falling below the 66% trip origination.

Recent technical issues make accepting trips a challenge, since the system is freezing up and not reacting to touch. Missing trips and getting disqualified and/or warned via text and email are easy to do, but making money and surviving as an Uber driver can be tough to model.

Hint: disable and enable option for back-to-back trips. If you refuse to do this, consider developing a 1-button to inform system this is the last trip and driver will go offline for the time-being.