Will Uber Ever Run Out Of Drivers?

When I first started driving for Uber in 2014, things were pretty damn good.  After figuring out my strategy of where and when to drive, I was actually making more on an hourly basis driving for Uber than as an aerospace engineer (my old day job)!

Granted, I was never driving more than 10-20 hours per week but the income was definitely a huge reason why I decided to start my blog.  I wanted to share what I had learned with others since I knew the great times wouldn’t last forever.

Now here we are, almost two years later, and a lot has changed since then.  Uber has lowered rates significantly during that time period but they’ve also grown their workforce to over 400,000 drivers (1.1 million worldwide)!

Lots of uber rideshare vehicles in the parking lot

Will Uber Ever Run Out Of Drivers?

There’s a lot you can complain about as an Uber driver, but clearly it can’t be that bad if 400,000 people are doing it.  But what about the people who aren’t doing it anymore?  That’s one thing that’s always stuck out to me that I don’t think gets talked about enough.

Uber’s Low Retention Rate

Anyone who speaks with drivers for a living knows that there is a lot of turnover in the rideshare industry.  I’d say an overwhelming majority of the e-mails and questions I get are either from brand new drivers or drivers who are fed up and ready to quit (or quitting).  A lot of people like to e-mail me and let me know when they quit, and I am always available to listen if you need to vent 🙂

So anecdotally, I’ve always known that there is a lot of turnover.  But in 2015, even Uber themselves announced that nearly half of its drivers quit after one year.  Drivers are considered having ‘quit’ if they haven’t given a ride in six months, which is obviously generous.  I’d say if a driver hasn’t given a ride in 2-3 months, it’s a good bet they won’t ever give a ride again.

But either way, that means every year, Uber is actually losing a majority of its workforce.  That doesn’t seem like a sustainable business model, but it’s hard to argue with the results.  Uber has steadily increased it’s valuation and it’s now up over $62 billion!  Clearly, driver retention hasn’t been a problem, but will it soon become one?

How Does Uber’s Retention Compare To Similar Industries?

I’m not an expert in other industries, but I am an expert at Googling, and from what I found, Uber’s actual retention rate doesn’t seem that bad.  One study by the Hay Group in 2012 found that retailers reported a median turnover rate of 67 percent for part-time workers.  That number may seem high but it also makes a lot of sense.  Many retail jobs are seasonal and/or temporary and I’m pretty sure most people don’t grow up thinking they’re going to work on an hourly basis at Hot Topic forever.

A lot of people feel the same way about driving for Uber.  Although there are drivers who do it full time, a majority of Uber drivers actually drive less than 10 hours per week.  And Uber themselves often tout the flexibility of being an Uber driver as the number one reason why drivers drive for Uber.  There’s obviously less flexibility the more you have to drive, so it would make sense that Uber is best suited for part-time drivers.  So in short, you have a lot of drivers who are hoping to do this temporarily until they find something better or value the flexibility that allows them to pursue their passion (think artists, actors, musicians, etc).

Obviously, retail isn’t the perfect comparison to driving for Uber but it’s close. One big difference between traditional retailers and Uber is that Uber doesn’t spend much on training its drivers.  Uber does pay big money for acquisition of drivers (paid marketing, sign-up bonuses, etc) but once they have them, their on-boarding costs are pretty minimal.  Drivers don’t have to meet anyone from the company face to face and the cost of the background check is only $25-$35.  Imagine running a business where you only have to pay $35 to get new drivers up and running!

Is Uber The New Walmart?

One comparison I’ve heard a lot recently is that of Uber to Walmart.  Now frankly, if I was CEO of a company, that is the last comparison I would want, but there’s no arguing with Walmart and Uber’s success.  But even Walmart recently acknowledged that they had a retention problem in early 2015 and actually raised the hourly rates of their workers in order to combat it.

There’s been a lot of research that suggests raising wages leads to lower employee turnover and better customer service.  In addition to the Walmart story, a 2003 paper by University of California economists that studied living wage policies at the San Francisco Airport found that “turnover fell by an average of 34% among all surveyed firms and 60% among firms that experienced average wage increases of 10% or more.”  That same survey (admittedly a bit outdated) also found that employers were paying about $4,275 for each employee that was replaced.  That’s a lot of money for an hourly worker, but remember, Uber doesn’t have anywhere near the same costs.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from drivers is that Uber doesn’t pay enough.  I pay my writers more than I need to because I’m a nice guy, but companies like Uber and Walmart are businesses first and foremost, and they make business decisions.  Walmart’s CEO might say publicly “our people make the difference” but if they weren’t confident in higher wages stemming retention, there’s no way in hell they’d be doing it.

Uber knows exactly how much they’re paying in acquisition costs for each driver and it’s a pretty good bet that it’s a lot cheaper to hire a new one than to retain a good one by paying them more.  Investors also tend to overlook things like acquisition costs and retention at the beginning of a company’s life cycle since they know these costs can be improved over time.  So on paper, it might look a lot more enticing to investors to see exploding growth in the number of new drivers as opposed to more steady retention of existing drivers.

What Are The Reasons Why Drivers Are Quitting?

I talk to a lot of drivers.  That’s actually one of the things I pride myself on, and if you’ve ever e-mailed me, you know that I will not only read your e-mail but I’ll also reply.  It might not be an in-depth reply but I’ll do my best to answer your question in a few sentences or less.

But even though I love interacting with the community I’ve built here on The Rideshare Guy, I also know that there is some inherent bias there.  So I go onto forums, Facebook groups and even talk to lots of drivers in person. The last time I was in San Francisco, I took 22 Uber rides over just 3 days and talked to every single driver covertly.  Only one of them recognized me 🙂

Through all of that interaction with drivers, I think I’ve identified some of the top reasons why drivers are quitting:

  • Low Pay: Regardless of what drivers tell you, pay is the number one reason why drivers are doing this job.  Over the past year and a half, rates have been cut by 30-50%, which has forced a lot of older and more experienced drivers to look for other opportunities (just ask your next few Uber drivers how long they’ve been driving).  It’s tough to go into work one day and take a 20% pay cut to do the same exact job.
  • Driver Saturation: Although Uber has constantly grown its passenger base, it seems like there are more drivers than ever out on the roads.  This is especially pronounced during big events like Halloween and NYE, which just aren’t anywhere near as profitable as they used to be.  I suspect there are a lot more ‘weekend warriors’ who only come out when it’s busy.  And of course innovations like UberPool also mean less available rides for drivers.
  • Feeling Expendable: I think a lot of drivers can probably empathize with this.   Uber is constantly hiring new drivers and they have always been a passenger-centric company.  Drivers have complained for years about things like customer support, insurance, driver safety, tipping, etc and Uber has taken a “my way or the highway” approach with its drivers.  No one wants to work for a company where you feel expendable, and Uber definitely makes a lot of drivers feel expendable.
  • Inadequate Support: One of the things I hear over and over from new drivers is that they feel like they’re alone when they’re getting started.  Unlike a regular job, there are no co-workers that drivers can ask questions to or figure out how to do this or that.  So drivers are really left to figure things out for themselves, and Uber’s support system is well known for frustrating responses and inadequate support.

Is There Unlimited Supply?

As a driver myself, I think it’s easy to assume that Uber has to eventually start treating drivers better, paying them more and actually trying to retain their workforce instead of hiring new ones.  But I don’t know if Uber will ever run out of drivers.

In the past, I used to joke that all you needed was a car, a smartphone and a pulse to become a driver.  Nowadays, Uber provides the phone and they’ll even provide a super flexible car lease (or even a rental).  So all you have to do is pass a background check.

Today, Uber has a workforce of 400,000 drivers, but if you think about the sheer number of workers in similar industries like retail you start to realize how many people there are that could one day drive for Uber.  In 2014, there were 77 million hourly workers and 3 million of them were paid at or below federal minimum wage of $7.25 (Source: bls.gov Table 10).

I estimate the earning potential of an Uber driver to be $15-$20/hr minus expenses, so you can imagine there are a lot of people who would probably be better off financially by driving for Uber.  Not to mention the fact that they’d also have some flexibility with the hours they worked.

Numbers and stats like this make me think that Uber won’t ever run out of drivers, but I do think they could face an even bigger problem.  Uber has built up a ton of goodwill with customers since they provide a superior product.  But as the best drivers leave for greener pastures, will they be able to maintain that quality?

Uber provides very little in the way of training and as they continue to look deeper and deeper into the workforce, I think the quality of their product is bound to suffer.

So drivers, what do you think?  Will Uber ever run out of drivers and/or do you think the quality of the product is eventually going to suffer?

Make Every Mile Count

Did you know that every 1,000 business miles can save you $540 in taxes? Never miss another mile with the new QuickBooks Self-Employed automatic mileage tracker.

-Harry @ RSG

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I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.
  • John O’Connor

    Good summary of the key factors influencing drivers staying or moving on. The Walmart analogy is one I’ve often used to describe Uber. One factor you didn’t mention as a cost for Uber & Walmart is public perception. Most of the best companies I’ve worked for take pride in saying their workers are part of their “family”. A large company I worked for emphasized creating a “win/win” relationship with customers, and they treated employees in a similar fashion. Consider companies like Costco or Trader Joe’s who have both mastered this win/win mentality. I’ve personally emailed John Zimmer to suggest Lyft could be the Costco version of rideshare companies if they marketed themselves correctly. Imagine if Lyft proactively paid minimum wage, + $0.30/mile + health benefits to any driver working full-time. If they embraced their drivers as part of their “family” they’d create a positive image as Trader Joe’s and Costco have done. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/the-trader-joes-lesson-how-to-pay-a-living-wage-and-still-make-money-in-retail/274322/

  • Mike

    I completely agree. The quality of the product is bound to
    go down drastically as Uber continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Also,
    the drastic changes Uber implements on a whim make it impossible to invest
    money to get into the Black or SUV options.
    I love the whole idea of working in the TNC environment, but it is hard
    to turn a profit with the current X rates.

    • Willie Wilmette

      I love the whole idea of working in the TNC environment, but it is hard
      to turn a profit with the current XL rates when 90% of the rides are paid at X rates.

  • buzw69

    If I were a passenger centric company…I think I’d take better care of the folks providing the service. How does Uber make it better for their passengers if they are not caring for the drivers (service providers.) At these low pay rates how long before it adversely affects the drivers ability to maintain and/or replace vehicles. I’ve read many, many articles on driver(s) operating expenses, but none mention vehicle depreciation and/or replacement. If you’ve driven for a couple years you probably have a vehicle with excess mileage that is worth a lot less than other same year vehicles. You usually find this out when you go to sell or trade-in the vehicle. Great posting (s) Harry…keep up the good work !

    • Yea that’s the real question, I think as time goes on those issues will be magnified.

      • ChilePowered

        Unless they simply continue to get new drivers that don’t know any better…for awhile.

  • Gerry Zurek

    I think uber will always have enough drivers. Labor is cheap and plentiful. Will the quality of the ride go down? First in what manner will the ride go down? The experience of the driver or the shape of the car? The answer to both questions is not a problem. Why? If the quality of the cars goes down the driver will get low ratings and then get deactivated. If the quality the drivers goes down then he’ll again get deactivated. Therefore not a problem. Can they find enough drivers to replace the deactivated ones? I think so. I see the economy in the u.s. Getting worse not better. That means the drivers and cars might go down a little in quality for the short term but quality won’t go down that much. This means drivers are expendable. If one doesn’t work out just replace him with another. Am I a driver or rider? I am a driver who has never taken a ride share ride with another driver.

    • Cheap and Plentiful? We would be making more in referrals if that was true.

      • Willie Wilmette

        Soon the drivers will be made in China.

      • Gerry Zurek

        It might happen where the only way to make any money in this business is to refer new drivers. I call this a pymarid scheme.

        • ChilePowered

          That’s the only way Uber pays its drivers now…is to refer new drivers. Hope everyone gets that by now.

      • Gerry Zurek

        No I don’t think you would make more in referrals in any situation. Why? Simple. There would be more competition from drivers for referrals if there were more drivers. Yes, there would be more people wanting to become drivers but there would be more drivers trying to take away those referrals from u because, they want the sign up bonus just as much as u do.

        • I don’t know anybody that wants to drive for any ride share company. I am reluctant to recruit strangers but I may have too. Only people like Harry and UM have platforms to get referral bonuses, most people don’t make any money on referrals.

  • MSPilot

    Thanks Harry! Just started driving. The take is barely about minimum wage. Great fun but can’t sustain it for long. Uber behavior is the norm once Wall Street gets involved – churn and burn people. Should learn from Apple, Virgin and Starbucks – it’s all about the experience (the people). Customers will pay big for a good experience. Taxi fell into same trap – they thought it was just about transportation. But don’t hold your breath, Uber has megalomaniacal dreams for world domination. That often (always) spells neglecting core product.
    PS If Uber has to cut prices and driver payouts it usually means the product is not holding it’s original value.

    • That’s the big question for me, will the product retain its value as they burn/churn more and more drivers? So far, yes..

      • ChilePowered

        They only need to be concerned about that until driverless cars come out….sooner than we think. I see them building their platform for that on the backs of drivers today.

  • Still a newbie that started mid december 15. I have about 200 trips under my butt now. And you are spot on about lack of support for beginners. I got nagged for having a low rating (4.33) that all could be entirely contributable to troubles with the nav app(s). Once I got settled in it’s been all 5s now at 4.85. No one told me about where the staging area is at SFO but found it accidentally, buried in some communication. No one explained zones. No one told me about picking up at Departures level of SFO…wait I learned about that from a cop very willing to give me a ticket if I let the passengers into my van at the arrivals level. I had to ask them to go up to the departures level. And no one told me what do to when a NYE blow job takes place in the back. I’m working 10-12 hrs 4 days a week to make 200-250 per stint. Uber is insane with its nag about making more money only if you’d drive during all the busy hours and borders on encouraging negligence by sleep deprived drivers. Uber says I have a 95% acceptance rate but I can recall only one time I actually did not accept a ride. The 2016 recession will bring in even more drivers!

    Uber needs to consider tiered payment or rewards for meaningful performance metrics to better incentivize top drivers

    • Yea I do wish I could say it’s getting better but at least it’s good motivation for me to provide all that is lacking 🙂

      • Hank Lopez

        Harry- I want to touch base with you on something that Bill brings up about ratings. Do they really matter? I have about 100 rides under my belt and have never been below my current rating of 4.96. Do these higher ratings get rides? I understand the locality issue but other than that, what good are they? I also get the rider perspective as well but last week I drove around for two hours chasing down surges without a single ride. My logic may be flawed but if Bill has 200 rides with a 4.3 why should I do my best when so-so will work?


        • Wow that’s awesome. For now, the ratings don’t do a whole lot beyond giving you a sense of pride 🙂

          But you do need to stay above 4.6 ish or you will be deactivated..

          • disqus_urSNKlrqsx

            Hi. I have driven my first two days with Uber. I have 13 rides, 8 ratings of 5, 1 rating not listed, 4 rides no ratings. Somehow my combined score is 4.6 is listed on my phone, 4.85 on my uber page? How can that be? Thanks. Bill

          • They update at different intervals. Go with what’s on your page for most up to date.

    • beechnut79

      This is where Uber says one thing yet does another. They apply all this implied pressure and yet the minute you fall below damned near impossible to meet standards they deactivate you. And they should, I believe, impose a limit of 8 hours consecutive online and 12 hours per calendar day. Otherwise they will someday get sued if an overly tired driver causes a wreck which results in death or serious injury.

  • who_wants_this_thing

    My reason for not driving as much, is not so much the money
    but lack of interest. I am the weekend worrier you referenced. In the
    begging I looked forward to driving for UBER. I have a 2005 Prius so not
    too many expenses.

    I liked driving on Friday and Saturday evenings. It
    seemed that most people were in a good mood, dressed up and going out to have a
    good time. I also enjoyed enjoyed the extra income. Your estimate was
    true for me, approx. $15 to $20 per hour.

    However, as time went by it became less fun and I found
    myself getting more tense the more time I spent driving. I experienced some
    very unpleasant people. I had navigation issues like my map programs (Waze,
    Google Maps) directing me to the backside of residence and businesses instead
    of the front.

    I experienced frustration driving in areas I was not
    familiar. I received some bad advice that I followed. I kept my driver’s App on
    all the time, even when I went into the areas I did not know. I feel that
    was a mistake and let some bad turns and bad ratings.

    Last but not least, the frustration of receiving less than 5
    stars after doing everything right including having Hi-Chews available (candy)
    to my passengers. The biggest crazy maker is not knowing why I received a
    bad rating.

    I don’t want to quit driving, but I am not feeling it. I hope i get my MOJO back soon and perhaps I would if I earned more money but I also believe that the service needs to stay affordable for the 20 and 30 year olds.

    • I’ve experienced the same problem with Waze telling me to drive into the back alley of a residence or making me turn the wrong direction.

      I don’t have a workaround for the back of the residence problem, the only solution there is for riders to request a ride in the front of the house not from the bedroom.

      Orientation has to do with how close you are to an intersection. Since civilian GPS isn’t quite as accurate as what the military and NASA use, you have to be 50-100 feet away from it in order for Waze or Google Maps to make sure you turn the right direction.

      This is a problem because I’ve had people cancel on me if I looked like I was going the wrong direction to pick them up.

      It doesn’t bother me, it is what it is.

      • Willie Wilmette

        The back alley issue per “The Rideshare Pro” is Waze’s bad address point placement, not requesting from the back. Has anyone bothered to test to see who is right the RSG or the RSP?

        • Who’s RSP haha?

          • Willie Wilmette

            Just somebody who wants to monetize his knowledge of ridesharing.

    • Willie Wilmette

      Have you tried using Waze’s Report button & Map Error button to report being directed to the backside of residence and businesses insteadof the front?
      If you do they usually fix it in a few days, one block at a time but if every driver would report just one error per day, the map would get fixed much quicker.

    • That definitely doesn’t sound like the optimal experience, Uber should definitely listen to feedback like this. Sadly they don’t, but I do..

      This is also good reading for you: http://therideshareguy.com/getting-your-rideshare-mojo-back/

      • Mathew Allen Knudson

        They should just add a checkbox- “do not pair me with this person again”- instead of shoving it into the star system. It would make it clearer exactly what’s being decided. Honestly, it should just be a thumbs-up thumbs-down system. Percentage of riders of who have had a good experience would still be very informative, and tell you immediately tell you the chance you’ll enjoy your ride, as a customer.

        • ChilePowered

          I’d like to see Uber dropping a driver’s lowest rating per week. I think mine would bump back up to a 5 b/c you can’t please everyone. But then Uber wouldn’t have as much to hold over my head in that case and they use intimidation as much as they can. I once got a 1 rating from someone and it didn’t surprise me b/c they were not to be pleased. Uber threatened me with de-activation from that one after having a 4.8+ rating over my entire driving time with them.

          • beechnut79

            But I feel that deactivation shouldn’t occur until rating drops to 3.5, which in percentage terms translates to 70, which is the low point for passing grades on school tests. Exceptions of course can be made for criminal or bordering on criminal activity. They are too quick to give one the hook, and someday they will be short of drivers and hope they offer some sort of amnesty program to those dropped for not-too-serious reasons.

    • Gerry Zurek

      When u didn’t receive a 5 what did u receive? Was it a 3???? If so then it’s almost definitely a new rider who doesn’t understand the uber rating system. Translation: driver gets screwed because of uber breaking in new riders. I should know. I received alot of 3s a couple of months ago.

  • rrosen1

    Harry you know my story but I’ll share it again for those logging in. I am 73 and and spent fifty years in sales. I collect Social Security and I can supplement that with Uber making $500-$600 per week and I don’t put in a full forty hours. I have retirement money also. Being free from making quotas, those horrible mandatory morning meetings, and bosses who only value you for your last sale this is a dream job. I get to meet some great people, set my hours, have time to read and advance my interest in photography. I am in excellent health and will probably do this as long as I’m able.

    • Sounds good, might make for a good guest post?

      • rrosen1

        I actually stated a blog several years ago after my wife didn’t want me to discuss politics in public. My most serious stuff would be under the category Politics. Www,appleledgephotography.com

  • HASnLA

    After about 20 months, I’m getting close to fed up with driving for Uber too. Latest transgression: I’ve always used the drivers app on an uber-issued iphone 4, though I’ve called passengers with my personal phone. A recent update to the driver app on the uber-issued phone included a “contact” button to call a passenger. However, it doesn’t work because the phone is locked down and can’t call anyone, much less a passenger. And when I call a passenger on my personal phone, I get an annoying recorded message exhorting me to use the “contact” button — which, as I said, doesn’t work. After exchanging 6-8 emails with uber support, I finally was told that A) the fee for old uber-issued phones went from $10 to $15 a month in recent months, and B) uber doesn’t issue phones anymore in LA, so I can’t get a newer uber phone that can call passengers via the “contact” button. Of course, I received no prior notification whatsoever of these two changes. As I told the rep: Just another of many examples of how Uber does business and “cares” about it’s drivers.

    • Why don’t you have your own smartphone? If you’ve been driving for 20 months, that’s $800 in fees, you could have gotten a top of the line smart phone for that (two actually)…

      • HASnLA

        I do have my own smartphone. I just did not want to put the wear and tear on it that using it for uber driving would cause. (And yes, I know, it’s mostly electronic. But everything, made by man or not, whether it has moving parts or not, experiences wear and tear.) And I was making enough in the Bay Area during my first year of Uber driving to more than comfortably offset the $10/week rental price. But since May, I’ve been in LA, where the per-mile Uber rate is 30% less than it is (or at least was) in the Bay Area. And $15/week is just too much.

        • ChilePowered

          And you may find that the new Uber phone requires a $200 deposit…also a new rule that is not relayed.

          • HASnLA

            Amazing. Well, I downloaded the driver app to my iphone. The phone wouldn’t open it because it had not been “trusted.” And of course, the instructions sent me by uber partner support to resolve that issue were wrong, so I had to figure it out myself. How does the company stay in business with all this nonsense? (Untrusted apps, lawsuits, getting left in the dust by Lyft at LAX, etc., etc.)

          • ChilePowered

            Most riders are uninformed about the drivers’ perspective and experience. As long as there are happy riders and more drivers to churn through the system, paying them to bring in more drivers rather than to drive, Uber has the upper hand. It is its own best example.

  • Gerry Zurek

    Another reason to use google maps instead of waze is if waze does a worst job of navigation than uber then you shouldn’t use waze’ app as in repayment for the worst job waze is doing compared to google maps.

  • ProWorkingClass

    The future of the drivers would not be determined by how Uber treats its working force, but rather by how drivers respond to the Uber style of passanger-centered interest. As for if Uber would ever run out of drivers or even good drivers, the answer is NO. The reasoning is that Uber as well as the rest of the corporate culture thrive because of the desperate economy

    • I don’t think so because churn is so high, you’d have to continually recruit/motivate new drivers to go against Uber.

      • ProWorkingClass

        Sure as long as Uber has the absolute power to hire and fire its drivers and replace them with more compromising ones, any resistance efforts to change the game will fail. Under the current desperate economy condition, demand for work exceeds the supply of satisfying jobs, so there is always going to be more workers available who would be recruited by Uber. In fact, it is not just Uber that has been following this trend; it is almost every other corporation with need for unskilled workers. And if you mean by “you’d have to continually recruit/motivate new drivers to go against Uber” that the resistance movement needs to continually recruit fighters against Uber to keep up with the Uber hiring and firing machine, yes you are right. The only thing I see working against Uber is running out of serious and good drivers which does not seem to be Uber’s main concern. Uber seems to be more concerned about making sure that whenever a customer rings up Uber for a ride, that there is at least one driver available to take the request. How many more requests after that the driver would fulfill is not big of a concern to Uber.

        • beechnut79

          Therefore you are your own boss only as far as setting your own hours and not having them dictate a schedule to you. Other than that it is every bit as cutthroat.

  • Howard Smith

    If Elon Musk’s estimates are accurate, in as little as two years Uber and Lyft will not have to worry about their drive turnover rate. Both companies are pushing hard to be at the leading edge of self driving cars. The self driving cars will have to have a driver in the beginning, but as the bugs get worked out and the law adapts the cars will be driverless. http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/04/gm-lyft-self-driving-car-network/

    • vacuumation

      Elon Musk is the same guy who back in the day implied we’d all be driving electric cars by now. (His cars, of course.) We’re not even close to that. Especially with gas prices dropping like a rock.

  • Marc

    Great Blog Harry. As a driver for both Lyft and Uber I know what the deal is on the street as I’ve been driving since last March. Are there too many drivers now? Possibly. What is the retention rate? Who knows really but the other day I got a newsletter from our friends at Lyft. In it was a mention that new drivers in the Chicago market will now have a 25% commission taken on their rides. That’s NEW drivers for now. I wonder when Lyft will expand that deduction to all drivers. Talking about sustainable business models, I think both companies have gone overboard when it comes to recruitment and what the costs are to them. Honey will usually attract more flies than crap. You want to have the best drivers, pay them fairly, on time and be there for them and you’ll have people lining up to get in. (Southwest Airlines comes to mind).

    Number One rider complaint: Surge Pricing or Prime Time

    As for support of drivers, I’ve found Uber to be a bit more responsive to my questions and problems with rides. They respond quicker and will go after riders who aren’t honest about ordering XL cars when having parties greater of 4 on a ride. Lyft never goes to bat for me on Plus riders who scam the system. In fact, they ignore my inquiries altogether.

    Currently with gas prices low we are effectively making a bit more money than last spring. But when the price goes up again it’s going to be hard to justify putting all those miles on my vehicle.

    Since last March I’ve noticed a definite decrease in nightly ride earnings. Sometimes the gap between rides is so long in central Chicago that I consider going home due to boredom. This applies to both Uber and Lyft, though Uber is generally busier.

    Only .5-1% of Uber riders ever tip. Lyft riders are more generous with about 40-50% of my riders leaving something for my Big Mac fund.

    Uber Pool and Lyft Line are both insane ideas to me on so many levels it’s staggering. Anyone can Google this and find some great treatises on the topic. A couple of glaring problems I see are: rider safety, rider convenience, timeliness of rides and pick ups, driver safety, vehicle safety….to mention a few. Look it up folks. I personally ignore or decline Pool requests. Lyft Line requests are more difficult to deal with and although I get the first rider on a Line route i’ve never had a second rider request. So that’s only a win for the rider who gets a cheaper ride. And I pity riders who’s only concern is price….these rides are pretty cheap in the first place. Maybe they should reconsider using Taxis again for a reality check.

    The star rating system is really a bad metric and only gives angry people a way to besmirch a driver’s reputation because it gives people who are rage prone (especially under the influence) a way to take out their frustrations on Uber or Lyft or technology or their boyfriend, on a driver.

    I’ve considered asking riders what would make for a 5 star ride in your book? Should I be serving Cappuccinos, give foot massages, make traffic disappear, become a software engineer so I could solve GPS issues on the fly, remove road construction barricades, change the direction of ONE WAY streets, blow stop signs, speed….The list goes on, but all I can say is that I strive to give the best rides possible considering conditions of the road, traffic and rider’s safety, yet when that report comes with the vague descriptions of what I can do to ‘improve’ my star rating I just want to scream. (Currently I’m about 4.8 on both platforms, whoopee!).

    I give 99.9% of my riders 5 stars as long as they don’t throw up, cause damage to my vehicle or become unruly. Why do riders feel they have a right to be so critical? If they only knew that Uber/Lyft do nothing to educate drivers about the deficiencies cited they would save their digital breath.

    Ultimately I drive because I’m a free-lancer and it’s the only way to earn money in a flexible manner. If ever there was a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances to inspire me to quit then I’ll quit. For now I drive and enjoy the adventure of going places I wouldn’t normally go, meet people who are fun to talk to or simply listen to, and provide a service to those who need this.

    I am always keeping my finger on the pulse of things by reading your blog and talking to other drivers. If Uber or Lyft ever cross the line with me making this a hellish experience I will not hesitate to stop driving. There are always other ways to skin a cat.

  • Ann

    Hi. My son wants to drive for Uber but my husband and I are concerned about the insurance situation. Most companies are not covering the driver or car if they are driving as a ride share driver. Is there any insurance company that will cover this situation?

    • That’s partially true, he would be covered during period 2/3 but during period 1 (app on, no pax yet), there is a gap in collision. Depending on your state though, there are lots of companies that now offer rideshare friendly policies that will ‘close’ this gap: therideshareguy.com/rideshare-insurance-options-for-drivers/

  • Harleyfxdx1 Rider

    I believe that the answer is no. However, the quality of the drivers has declined even in the short time that I have been driving (since August).
    I can see it at the airport, the Uber cars are very easy to spot. It is a
    very motley crew, they try to remain “stealth” in the cell phone lot so the cops don’t run them off. Many of them look like they are getting ready to rob a bank.
    I have had a number of pax tell me some of the bad experiences they have had. It appears that some drivers have terrible cars that smell and are dirty. Other pax have told me they felt scared because of reckless driving by the Uber driver (maybe a former cab driver). Also some of the drivers don’t speak English very well and are hard to communicate with (that sounds like a former cab driver). There have also been complaints by some pax about phones in lap, rather than mounted. I don’t ask for the information, they just volunteer it to me during conversations.
    I have given some of these pax that live nearby,my personal cell phone. They will text me with their trip request in advance and I’ll respond with my availability. It has worked very well for me and the special pax friends
    I’m retried and drive part time for a little extra income and I enjoy meeting the pax. I drive a Buick Enclave and only run the XL and Select platform. I never run the late night bar crowd. As such I generally get a better quality pax and very often they complement me on the cleanliness of my car and the quality of the ride and the conversation.
    At any rate, the industry has sprung up from nothing in a very short period of time. The future will be interesting to see what happens with the Lyft merger with GM, Tesla driver-less cars, Google driver-less cars and Uber trying to get into the act. Long term it seems that the driver will be a thing of the past and the car will not be part of every family.
    family. Cars will become generic and will be available on call 24/7. No need to have a car in your garage. I won’t live to see it, but I’m sure my grand-kids will. Not so far fetched when you remember that land-lines, message machines, pay phones, pagers and newspapers were vital to our existence. Media was newspaper, radio, and TV (a late comer) and socialization was done in-person. Today all of that is on the same little device that gives you your Uber “ping” request

  • ManzyPanz

    I am thinking about signing up as a driver. Although the horror stories worry me. I am holding out for a promotion code for new drivers.. Preferably $250 or more. Are they still offering them? I live in DC.

    • Depends on the city, e-mail support@uber.com to confirm the amount for your city. If you’d like to use my link: therideshareguy.com/newuberdriver

  • Ellman1231

    I agree that the supply of drivers is virtually inexhaustible, but I agree that as the driver pool has grown the quality has gone down without better training or (an old sticking point) improved rating systems to weed out the bad apples. I would add that a new driver seems to be (even bonuses & background checks aside) worth more than veteran drivers. If you’re new, you’re more likely to accept every request (even 25 minutes away), drive during slow hours, drive UberPool rides, accept canned answers from support, & most importantly less likely to read/follow important money-making tips from the RSG. Uber makes more money off of the uninformed, whether they be riders (ex. Those who agreed to 9.9 surge rides on NYE) or drivers (ex. those who believe uberPOOL rides will make them more money than UberX rides). And in both cases, the quality of the experience goes down for most involved.

    • beechnut79

      They do weed out, and the non-bad apples as well. Even missing a couple of navigation points can be cause for dismissal, so they actually tend to give a quicker hook than is often warranted, which I feel they should not do unless there is a serious incident punishable by law. They are really obsessed with the ratings, and anything less than five stars might just as well be zero.

  • Joel Unger

    interesting. no they will never run out of drivers in the time frame. they are literally paying cash if the intake is not what they expect. there are millions of people out there, many even without cars.
    we talk about this a lot in the sf bay area forum where they seem to have the hardest time finding drivers.
    Its a common fantasy that uber will run out of drivers someday willing to do this for this rate. nope they havent even scratched the surface.

    • Joel Unger

      here in the bay area there arent as many desperate people as in many other areas.
      in the city of sf most of the residents can get good jobs so easy its like falling off a truck.

      so its one of their most expensive things. they literally pay to make the drivers earn more than the passengers pay its a weird expensive faux business.

      • Most drivers in SF live outside the city though but yes I do agree with your main points.

        • Joel Unger

          in order to get those drivers to go to sf they have to have incentives for them other than its just busy. so they have incentives where the pax dont pay for surge but the company pays the driver for pool and line.
          this is literally because nobody wants to do line unless its cheaper and nobody wants to drive unless it pays more. so its like if the taxis had billions in investment to make their fares beat uber they would also. It is a business that im amazed has made it these many years and its getting more and more expensive for them all the time.

          • ChilePowered

            So perhaps other areas where drivers are easy to find might be subsidizing areas where that isn’t true?

  • Ann

    Thanks for the reply but we live in Florida and after many hours on the phone and numerous phone calls to insurance companies I still have not found any insurance company that will cover a driver for Uber and we are very concerned also about the policy Uber carries. We would like to see and read the Uber policy so we know just what coverage there is for periods 2 and 3. How can we get a copy of the policy? Do you know of any insurance companies in Florida who will cover this situation? Thanks for your help.

    • IIlI

      i read up on a company or a few that offer to a limited number of states. i am in new york city. there is no rideshare insurance here so i am not signing up for uber just yet. an accident or two will absolutely happen during your driving experience, as will tickets, as will dangerous customers. you have to accept all of that and be prepared for it. only reason i would hesitate after rideshare insurance is available is that uber is terrible with how it treats its drivers. i used to sell heavily on ebay and stopped doing so in mid 2000s when ebay really started treating its sellers very badly. i understand no company is perfect (well, i am wrong, google and facebook pay real well but how many people have that type of talent? not the avg. hard working person) so i will have to bite the bullet and go with a rideshare app when insurance does show up. geico has a rideshare insurance page where it says it is working to make it happen in many states.

    • Yea as of today, there are no options in FL but I have most of Uber’s policies linked in my insurance articles/research: therideshareguy.com/category/insurance/

      Or try here: https://newsroom.uber.com/insurance-for-uberx-with-ridesharing/

    • ElbonianGA

      If you are a veteran, USAA is gradually rolling out rideshare insurance as a rider to your regular policy. They offer it in a few states now, and will offer it in my state (Georgia) in mid-March, if their application to the Georgia Insurance Commissioner reflects the reality of their intent.

  • John Panella

    Ok, i’m getting into this conversation!!!
    Once again a great article breaking down some key elements of this business… saturation & attrition. I have operated in several different industries, mostly hospitality (which Uber could be crossed over into), and Uber’s attrition rate of 50% in 12 months (although I am a little skeptical on that time frame, seems way shorter based on some of my driver peers) is actually fairly reasonable considering the serious lack of “community” or as Uber calls it “partnership”!

    I actually think all new “on-demand” opportunities provide a really legit way to earn money while “figuring out your next move”! I used to operate in the Network Marketing / MLM space, 75% drop out within 90 days of signing up – only thing is most of them not only don’t make any money, they end up spending more (not bashing MLM, I actually am a big fan). And restaurants, maybe on par with Uber. Uber (Lyft and others) seem to be taking a different approach to the classic Silicon Valley Tech company cultures which inspire, support, educate, and empower employees (woops, drivers are not employees – yet). I feel that a storm is coming that will disrupt the rideshare industry the way that the rideshare industry disrupted the personal transportation (taxi) industry – they’ll have to take notice and perhaps start addressing driver concerns, issues, and challenges! Either that, or the product / service will be seriously diluted – I am already hearing from riders in my area that they prefer Lyft because Uber drivers are just transplanted taxi drivers who provide the same experience as they get in a taxi…

    • Yea the one unique aspect about on-demand work is that you do actually make money from day one..

    • ChilePowered

      Definitely there are competitors in the wings, bringing a better business model for drivers.

      • beechnut79

        Although some question whether Lyft is any better. Have heard both pros and cons on this one.

  • Diego Dez Juarez

    Another great article. I’m so glad I read this because I have recently been feeling a lot of what this article says.
    So I have been driving for Uber since July of 2015. When I started I was making great money. $25- $30/ hr was great. Then came Halloween and then New years which was outstanding. It was until November where my hourly rate reduced to $18- $20/hr. Days later after feeling that my checks weren’t coming in as big as they used to, I decided to compare how many trips I was completing with the ones from the past where I was making more. Turned out I was completing more trips than before. So I started to pay closer attention to how much I was making per trip because as we all know Uber says drivers keep 80% of the fare and they take 20% but that’s not true since they end up taking a few other fees and after doing the math, drivers were keeping only 74%-75% of the total fare. I remember that day I picked up a customer in Virginia (where I live) and drove for exactly 26 minutes and my payout was $16 with a few change. I said cool not bad I guess. Then I ended up going to DC and I picked up another customer and the trip was exactly 26 minutes and same distance just like the previous trip so I was like yes! I can finally see if I will be making the same. After dropping off the passenger, I saw that my payout was $11 with some change. Im not going to lie I got furious. And both of these trips weren’t surging or anything so I wasn’t crazy adding extra numbers. Anyways, I got angry to the point I decided to email Uber support and long story short I asked them, what the hell? Why are you guys doing this to us? Because of us you guys are a multi-million dollar company. I’m sure now in the billions.. etc etc, I was upset. Their slow support team replied to me 3 days later. 3 days. And their response pissed me off even more. (I can send you the email of their response if you’d like to see it Harry)
    Anyways at that point I learned that Uber has reduced their rates significantly. Now a driver really has to get lucky to average out $20/hr. On the Uber website, the Fees for DC are the same for Virginia and Maryland. So to this day, I am not sure what Uber did to those 5 extra dollars I deserve since I worked for it. But I am sure that theyve done the same to lots of my other trips and other drivers.
    Anyways, about their support team, they are terrible and they take forever to respond. I recently got a car through the xchange lease program and one of the downfalls of getting your vehicle is that you have to wait hours at dealeships waiting to hear a response from xchange lease to see how much the driver would have to pay weekly. So I waited about 7 hours, got my car and left. I had temporary tags on the car and that meant also having a temporary registration for a month. I uploaded my documents on my Uber dashboard and waited 3 days for them to check it and approve so I can be an active driver. Yes 3 days of waiting to work. They finally check my documents online and make me an active driver. I am excited, I am now able to make money. So I start to drive in my state, I went to the hot spots where every driver usually gets a request, I pulled over at many locations and I get a little puzzled because I am not getting any requests. At that point I was already on the road for 6 hours. So I do the usual that Uber support team tells you to do which is restart the app, restart your phone, turn your location off and on, etc etc. I get no requests and I finally decided to email their support team. At times I loved to think that their support team responds to very urgent emails faster than others. I mean it makes sense right? If I dont make money they dont make money. But no. I went home had to take the evening off since I couldnt work. They responded the following day telling me that they made a mistake and they adjusted some things so I could start working. So I replied saying thanks but it would’ve been nice if I got a response quicker. I go out that day and same thing happens. Except this time I only drove 2 hours, I wasnt dumb enough to burn gas for 6 hours again. I email them again and get a response 7 hours later and they finally tell me that I couldn’t pick up customers in Virginia until I had a permanent registration and hard plates. At that moment I am just like wow. So unfortunately for me I needed money so I could only pick up in DC and Maryland but it sucked when I had to drop off in Virginia then had to drive all the way back to DC. I didn’t make much but hey someone has bills to pay.
    I finally receive the hard plates a few days later and uploaded the documents necessary to be an active driver again. They took 4 days to make me an active driver even though they say they check everyones account every 12 hours.
    So yeah it’s been like that with them. When I am having problems with the app or something I know right away I’m done for the day… or days.

    Anyways I get frustrated and I start to hear about a lot of lyfts driver bonuses and guarantee payments. The number one thing that made me try lyft out was that they had a tipping option available. That right there is a done deal. I signed up and was informed by lyfts support team that I could get an extra $750 bonus after completing 75 trips by January 27, 2016. At first I was like “yeah I can knock that out in a week!”
    It didn’t turn out like that unfortunately. Lyft turned out not be as popular as Uber over here in the DMV. In a week I completed only 2 lyft trips even during peak hours :(. I was so upset because I was so excited to leave Uber for good. So I had to keep driving for Uber, except this week has been the worst of them all. I have been working 10 hour shifts and ive been making like $100. I tried this out all week. I usually also work during busy hours. So at this very moment I am so discouraged and upset. I am sad and depressed. I am officially done with driving. I feel like crying because I honestly loved this job so much. But I can’t afford to lose my time like this. Only if lyft was just as popular then that would’ve been amazing. I thought that maybe it was just me or my luck but I’ve talked to 4 other full time drivers that I know that also work around here, and they’ve been making the same. Uber is the best part time job to do on a Friday or Saturday to make some extra cash. With the fares reducing, eventually this will be a job where a driver will be making average $12/hr – expenses. I mean it sucks you know, time ago I used to see advertisements on Craigslist saying make “$1500” a week and now you see the same ad on Craigslist and it says “make up to $744 a week in fares”
    Oh and one more thing, new drivers for Uber dont take 80% of fares. Weeks ago there was one of those new terms and agreements contract you had to accept in order to go online that said new drivers from this date (I forgot the date) will keep 75% of fares. Meaning probably 69%-70% of the fare. My friend made a trip to the airport last week and the total fare was $44 and his payout was $24. That’s BS. Anyways Harry, I will only do Uber on Fridays and Saturday’s from now on. Thanks for everything you’ve put up on your site to help me as a driver and for all your helpul podcasts. I greatly do appreciate it.

    • Not a problem, yea I do find that a lot of people start really looking at the #’s and figuring things out a few months after they get started..

    • ChilePowered

      Yes, the plight of so many drivers, laid out well above. Uber has no incentive to keep drivers because it just keeps getting worse and worse and they don’t want drivers to be in the loop and complaining.

    • E. Breezy

      Thanks for this post. I am in the DC area as well and I was curious about the market

  • ElbonianGA

    I started driving after I had heart surgery and I’m in cardiac rehab 3 days a week until mid-February, making it all but impossible for me to work my “regular job” (Cisco network engineer). I drive in the Atlanta metro area, where Uber recently reduced rates by 20% (which I’m sure you know about…).

    But even before the recent rate reduction there wasn’t a single week where I made more cash in from Uber and Lyft than the “expenses” represented by the IRS mileage rate ($0.575 per mile for 2015; it will probably go down in 2016 due to lower gas prices) times the number of miles I drive to earn that money.

    And yes, I bought a 2nd phone to be able to run the Uber and Lyft applications simultaneously so that no matter which app somebody was using, if I was near enough I’d get the page. If you count my “out of pocket” expenses (basically for the 2nd phone) plus the IRS mileage rate, it COSTS ME MONEY each time I drive. Now, I can make the case that at least I’m earning enough to cover my car payment and insurance (which are part of the IRS mileage rate), which I would not be doing if I wasn’t driving. And I will need that car if I’m ever healthy enough to go back to my “day job” (which I’m trying to get to).

    It sure seems to me that the Uber/Lyft business model is based upon a con: most folks who drive don’t think about the IRS mileage rate (at least not much before April 15 tax time). Or maybe even they don’t track their miles carefully enough to be able to claim it on their taxes. Either way, I can’t see how, at least in my market (Atlanta), its possible to actually make more money than the associated expenses.

    Note: Yes, that means effectively I make a negative income (expenses greater than income) for each and every hour I spend driving.

    I think if new drivers understood this business model they wouldn’t sign up at all unless you were in my situation (no other alternative for meeting car expenses and lots of free time to just throw away).

    Harry, you said yourself that drivers make $15-$20 per hour MINUS EXPENSES. I can’t believe there are many drivers making a net profit after expenses unless they are driving in a “high cost” market like New York or San Francisco. Here in Atlanta, its just not possible.

    So, will they ever run out of new drivers? I believe the answer is yes. There is something to be said for reputation, and when the word gets out that you are “out of pocket” each time you drive (in most markets), people will go back to working at Hot Topic and McBurger joints of various brands.

    • Why are you still driving if you’re losing money then? I’m confused.

      The IRS deduction rate of 57.5 cents doesn’t mean that’s what it actually costs to operate your vehicle. It could/should be a lot less..

      • ElbonianGA

        The only reason to still drive would be if I had no other way to make my car payment and other car expenses (insurance, gas, etc.). You can make the cost a lot less by not considering any number of longer-term costs, like depreciation on your car, car repairs, wearing out tires, etc. The IRS rate covers all of that stuff over the long run. If you consider EVERYTHING, the IRS rate is pretty close to reality (plus or minus 20% I’d say). The IRS rate is based upon reports from large fleets (i.e., taxi companies, etc.), so it should be close to reality.

    • ChilePowered

      It used to be that Uber valued their drivers and paid them, including calling me to thank me for being a top driver and they appreciated what I was doing. That and reasonable pay have gone out the Uber window. I believe it’s a cash in your pocket today deal, and watch out when you have to replace your car or tires or transmission….It’s not likely to cover those. There are so many desparate for a job that they are willing to work for cash in pocket today and hope for something to replace it in the future before the big transportation expenses come.

      However, the more people that sign up as a driver, the better, as that’s the only way they truly learn how bad being a driver is. From the riders’ perspective, Uber is wonderful!

  • ChilePowered

    I believe a large part of the answer would be for the riders to see Uber through the drivers’ eyes. For now the riders are quite happy with the service, thanks to Uber and the drivers, much to the informed drivers’ dismay. Another kicker is that many riders would gladly pay more for the service.

  • Anthony Phan

    They for sure will run out of good drivers that provide good service or quality product. It takes intelligent drivers to be efficient, quick-minded in maneuver traffic, especially during mad rush hours. The one who is willing to make $8/hr is the old, tired, and cranky with pressure and unrealistic expectation of good customer service, from both Uber boss and clueless riders.

  • randall

    Another reason for quitting…there is no merit system. You can take the best route, have the best conversation, or be standoffish and not so punctual….and it all can be the same 4 stars!
    Uber gets the credit for making this a mainstream thing, but this current platform is ridiculous and inevitably going to fail! Uber will evolve or there will be something better. I know there have been better companies in the past,but the timing just wasn’t right….Uber, as ridiculous as it is, had to happen.

  • Tony

    You have to work the system. Busy periods, not chasing surges, not driving far to pick up rides. Be in the areas where surges are going to happen all the time. Club closing for the night… Log off right before surge happens wait for it to hit a high number. Log in and collect huge fair to end the night, works for me every time.

    • Yup strategy is more important than ever these days.. Shoot me an e-mail, might be fun to talk more about what you’re doing that other drivers aren’t..

    • Marc

      What city do you drive Tony?

      • Tony

        Oklahoma city

  • Marc

    Having almost a year under my belt driving for both Uber and Lyft my analysis of driving anywhere between 20-50 per week most weeks is that the frequency of rides has gone down. I think it is due to driver saturation: Meaning too many drivers for riders. I’m in the Chicago area which is not a small market by any means. Both services are constantly trolling for new drivers with insane financial incentives.

    There may be seasonal adjustments I don’t have a total grasp on yet since I haven’t been driving through 2 seasonal cycles yet but I must say that my nightly take for the same amount of hours on the streets has diminished as the months have worn on. One caveat was December which was a nice boost due to holiday partying.

    Anyone else feel the bite too?

    Here’s the email I got today from Uber with the new incentive.

    • Yea this is definitely the slow time of the year which is why Uber has cut prices 3 years in a row…


  • johnmarek

    You’ve talked about Uber’s cost of acquisition of drivers but this goes both ways. The cost to start your own business is very low. If you’ve got a car and a smartphone, the initial cost to the driver to start a business is less than $30 for a tank of gasoline. And in a week, he’ll be in a positive cash flow situation.

    I would guess that a lot of the high turnover is because drivers don’t appreciate they’re in a business startup situation. They haven’t projected an annual budget that may include replacing an entire set of tires at least every year, or twice per month oil changes.

    As a part-time job, it’s very easy to earn at a rate of $10,000 in cash flow per year working just Friday and Saturday night. You can see this your very first weekend and it seems exciting. Then it’s time to buy those new tires and you realize you just wiped out 3-4 weeks of revenue. That will discourage many drivers and get them to leave.

    • Great points, gotta think of it like a business but most don’t. That’s where I try to help 🙂

  • David Scarpa

    Uber is run by moral less people. They are robbing this country blind by paying off the right people, not just drivers and passengers.

    I’ve never even ridden in an uber, let alone driven for them, and I feel like I’d love to punch their CEO right in his fat nose. These a-holes are way worse than wal-mart.

    • Not sure I agree but I would definitely at least try the service as a passenger before making that huge of an assumption..

      i mean the first ride is free 🙂 therideshareguy.com/passenger/uber

      • David Scarpa

        nope. worse than wal-mart.

  • Sherif Ali

    all of sudden we have uber expert’s, a few years ago no one even heard of uber. nowadays everyone is taking about uber. this company will fail!! once government’s around the world wake up and realize these kind of scam companies causes more harm than good to their economy.

    • I’m not sure where you’re getting your observations from but if you talk to Uber passengers about how they feel about the service, I think you’d be pretty surprised.

  • Ali Halabi

    Just ran into your blog and I think it’s great, thanks for doing this Harry! One thing I find puzzling is the use of the term ride-sharing for Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft are obviously ride-hailing apps and not ride-sharing. I understand that this term was hijacked by both companies in their startup days but it’s obviously not ride-sharing what they’re doing, since the driver isn’t really sharing their ride, but actually driving passengers from point A to point B. If this is ride-sharing, then taxis are ride-sharing in the same sense. (I’m of course excluding UberPool and Lyft Line / CarPool out of this).

  • Winson LI

    I have a question. What stops passengers from connecting directly with a driver or drivers? For the passengers, this might not be a big difference because they are paying a set fee. However, for the driver, it would make sense to try and cut UBER out of the loop because of the chunk Uber is taking from the drivers themselves. Uber has no rules I assume to prevent drivers and passengers exchanging information and next time the passenger needs a ride, he/she can just text the driver to see if they are in the area or plan ahead to arrange ride, completely taking Uber out of the picture. Love to heard feedbacks and comments. Thanks in advance

  • Newber

    Hi Harry, new uber driver here (3 days now). You bring up very valid points. I don’t think Uber will ever run out of drivers. There will always be someone available to drive especially as the range you indicated. Even if the work conditions/pay worsen from where they currently stand.

    As for your question about quality, I feel that uber is battling this very diligently. The rating system they have in place and their “cut-off” policy will ensure that the untrained employees who don’t figure it out quickly enough will be eliminated.

    That said, I’m deeply disappointed. I went to get my vehicle inspected at an uber location right before closing. One of the employees threw his hand up in disbelief that he had to process one more driver for the day. Not a good feeling when you first interact with a representative from your new employer/”partner.” The “welcome kit” was even more disappointing. I received an uber sticker for my window and an auxiliary cable so customers can listen to their own music. Not one document explaining the agreement we were entering into, no liability explanation, no process layouts, NOTHING…

    Experience outlook…. This company is as cheap as they come. Uber wouldn’t exist without its drivers…. So perhaps they should invest something in developing them, or at the very least…. Welcome them appropriately when they join.

    • True, the ratings system definitely helps keep drivers on point. I think Uber has a ways to go when it comes to new driver experience 🙁