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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.