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Friday, September 30, 2016

New Driver Deterrent and Still no Client Picture

Uber continues to protect their rider base at all costs. They recently developed a new safety feature to make sure the right driver is driving them. Meanwhile, there are still no client pictures shown on the driver app to make sure drivers are transporting the right riders. For the most part, drivers are expected to use good judgement to enhance their safety rather than wait 4 weeks later for Uber Support to address a rider dispute that slipped through the cracks. If you are an Uber driver, it is what it is.

It's disturbing to see another enhancement introduced as a deterrent to protect the wrongful use of driver accounts. However, Uber doesn't require riders to submit photos for drivers to locate them. Rival rideshare, Lyft, required riders to login using their Facebook accounts. At least this ride platform equipped their Lyft drivers with useful information to reduce wrong rider mistakes. Comparing photos against crowds of people standing on busy streets could help drivers locate riders much faster. Almost 3 years later, rider photos are still absent from the Uber driver app.

Do drivers really matter to Uber? Of course, Uber Support will remind drivers their hard work and devotion matter to this ride giant. When drivers contact Uber about conflicting riders, they inform these drivers this behavior is inappropriate and it will be addressed internally. Imagine Uber Support sending a driver this message 4 weeks after the incident. It would definitely frustrate most drivers to know that riders come first. Withholding rider photos from drivers complicate this relationship.

If and when a rider files a report on a driver, Uber won't share the details of this complaint. Uber will do everything in their power to protect the privacy of clients. However, drivers are put in unfavorable positions to view videos and review policy standards. This approach becomes rather troubling because riders can say whatever they want and make up false accusations. In contrast, drivers who submit complaints on riders get the same runaround from Uber. There is no follow-up to brief drivers on the status of these complaints. Most drivers won't bother to report bad riders; they already know these complaints go unresolved.

Thousands of people want to drive with Uber. Out of these thousands of applicants, there are some with bad driving records and/or legal records. Uber has been known to reject drivers with questionable driving history. We hear stories of applicants struggling to drive on the Uber platform. These rejected drivers may apply with Lyft and get approved. A ridesharing driver shared that Uber rejected his application and he got approved to drive on the Lyft platform. These two ride platforms operate under different policies, as shown in drivers being unable to drive with Uber/Lyft and choosing to apply with Uber/Lyft and get approved.

Rejected drivers may try to clear up DUI blemishes that still appear on their driving record. Under any establishment, mistakes do happen. We won't fault Uber for approving bad drivers who somehow appear on their ride platform. Though uncommon, passengers may ride along with a small percentage of bad drivers who have a questionable background history. Like Uber, Lyft probably made their fair share of mistakes approving bad drivers. We can't always predict future incidents since some good drivers can snap under pressure for unknown reasons. Perhaps, the same can be said about riders.

It is much harder to become a ridesharing driver than a rider. Any person with a phone and/or a credit card or PayPal account can open a rider account. Unfortunately, drivers face more of a challenge handling all rider types without having access to profile pictures to verify these accounts. As Uber continues to improve privacy and safety standards, their ride platform still put their drivers at risk of driving the wrong riders and possibly dangerous people.

We all know that riders request rides for random people they don't even know, especially at clubs and special events. Drivers are prohibited from loaning their driver accounts to random people, which can be viewed as gross negligence. Imagine flipping the script, where riders loan their rider accounts to rowdy friends who harm drivers and/or vandalize these vehicles. These riders could argue their account got hacked. Drivers must stay on top of their account, as any serious issue can result in deactivation and/or legal problems.

Who receives most of the criticism in the media? Drivers are always put in the hot seat. Taxi companies try to use scare tactics to discourage ride-sharing, but forget their drivers have practiced this exact behavior they argue against. When we sample riders, we notice how grateful they are to have Uber and Lyft. They shared horrible past experiences with taxis, proving this dinosaur (taxis/cabs) service has a lot of work to do before regaining trust among the transportation community.

Riding in a taxi is mostly an anti-social experience with little moral rewards. If you're lucky, it is basically a ride from point A and B. When taxi drivers refuse to make a trip, they tell passengers to exit. So many riders have been kicked out of cabs for traveling in a distant direction. The taxi industry is all about the money. In respect, there are some taxi drivers willing to make a difference. These drivers also face high risk of violence and are exposed to dangerous situations. Most rider gripes against the taxi industry are about leaving them behind, no-shows, poor driving, bad behavior and attitudes, refusing to accept credit cards, rejecting rides to distant neighborhoods, and lacking sympathy.

Uber is launching a new security feature that verifies the right driver is driving riders. This feature is viewed as a security enhancement to improve overall safety standards. News of this feature will also improve rider confidence in the Uber platform. However, Uber won't require riders to upload their picture so drivers can verify them. Uber will go great lengths to maintain privacy of riders. Drivers show personal profile pictures and vehicle pictures. They also include license plate numbers. All clients provide is their first name, not even a last name. Despite widespread arguments whether clients are safe, the media need to get their act together and notice the discrepancies that put drivers at risk.

When discussing Uber Partners and clients, there is a double standard in play. A driver duplicating rider behavior would get immediately deactivated. Riders with poor ratings and past complaints can continue to use this ride platform. Poor rated riders can rate high rated drivers poorly. In result of these low ratings, drivers may face future deactivation. Drivers have no access to past ride comments, since drivers can't submit feedback on riders. Riders have up to 24 hours to rate drivers (may have change of heart with a bad experience later in the day or night). On the flip side, drivers must rate their clients before accepting the next trip. How can drivers know to watch out for risky riders if they don't have reliable information? We can't expect Uber Support to return quick emails. Drive call support via app is only available at certain times, mostly during hours of operation.

Congratulations Uber for investing more resources into another feature that doesn't improve safety for drivers. Moreover, this feature won't give drivers access to valuable information to protect their personal safety. It is just another mechanism to improve safety standards for riders. But aside from this, drivers have no clue about the identity of their riders. It would make sense to share this information with valuable drivers who perform millions of trips annually.