Contents:

5 min read

    5 min read

    Every other week, I published Rideshare Drivers React on Linked In – it’s a roundup of trending news and what you, the drivers, have to say about it. You can take a look at the series’ previous newsletters here, and I have included this week’s edition below. Let me know what you think in the comments!

    [Editor’s note: Quotes are lightly edited for clarity]

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    Some Lyft Drivers Are Getting Deactivated for No Reason!

    We’ve received reports from hundreds of drivers since publishing our initial story and video, from drivers all reaching out to us with similar stories: they had taken a break from driving during the pandemic, then logged on to drive again as their states began to open up.

    In most cases, these drivers were able to drive briefly before abruptly being deactivated from the platform. The drivers interviewed all had high ratings and no previous complaints on their records – so what could be going on?

    When we reached out to Lyft, they stated: “There’s been no change to our policies. Without knowing these drivers, we don’t know what led to their deactivation — but we can assure you that it has nothing to do with the pandemic, or how often they’re driving. We have a high demand for drivers right now and we understand many drivers need the extra income, so we wouldn’t turn away qualified drivers from Lyft for no reason.”

    Unfortunately, this ambiguity has led to many drivers still wondering if they could be next.

    Here’s what readers are saying:

    One reader commented that, during these pandemic times, passengers are more sensitive about smells – particularly the alcoholic smells of hand sanitizer – which could be one reason passengers are complaining and leading to driver deactivations:

    “I have been driving for Lyft all through the pandemic. So far, I have been deactivated twice by Lyft. Both times are related to safety concerns. Passengers in these times are hyper sensitive, and more abusive than usual. I believe the reasons are the following:

    1. Smell of alcohol left by the passengers hand sanitizers.

    2. Dirt left on the carpet by passenger shoes..

    3. Fast driving.

    4. Abusive Passenger.

    The first time I got deactivated the passenger claimed that I was driving under the influence. They smelled the alcohol from the previous passenger slather of hand sanitizer.”

    Another reader highlighted a common complaint among all rideshare drivers: companies like Lyft and Uber are too quick to believe the passengers and not the drivers:

    “Lyft does not care for drivers one iota and [this story shows] how completely and easily dispensable and meaningless we all are to them. All their flowery words and platitudes are totally meaningless as I quickly learned early on in my 3 years of driving for them.

    It’s also known in the driver community that Lyft (and Uber) get scammed by passengers looking to get free rides by making up stories about us and Lyft will deactivate drivers without recourse even if they try to offer dash cam proof that there was no such incident.”

    Chime in on the discussion here.

    New Uber Driver Feature: Uber launches Drive Pass!

    Last year, in response to AB5, Uber began giving drivers in California the ability to see their destination and decline rides as often as they liked with no consequences. This led to many drivers waiting for longer rides with more earning potential – and ignoring shorter rides.

    This may have backfired on Uber, as evidenced by their new feature for drivers: Uber Drive Pass. Drive Pass is a financial incentive for California drivers in certain California cities to accept all rides. Basically, buy a Drive Pass for a certain number of rides, and you won’t pay any service fees.

    Of course, there’s a catch: the service fees you purchase upfront apply to all consecutive rides, whether you accept them or not. If you choose not to accept a ride (because it is too short/not worth it), you’re still using up one of your pre-paid service fees.

    Here’s what readers are saying:

    Driver Darren used our spreadsheet to determine whether or not Drive Pass would work for him, only to find out it most likely would not:

    I’m pretty sure this is a bad idea. I’m in San Diego, and decline 3 to 5 trips (before I get a decent 1) and sometimes 10 to 15. I think the spreadsheet you used you were declining short trips as well. I will not buy a drive pass.”

    Another viewer suggested the same thing: given the number of short rides they are offered, Drive Pass will not benefit them:

    Here in California, the majority of rider pings I get are for $2-$3 and $3-$4 rides. One in 20 pings might be a $20 or more ride. Accepting the majority of $2-$3 will just have me waste gasoline and time. And at the end of a 10 hour shift, I will make bread crumbs!”

    Chime in on the discussion here.

    Uber Will Now Allow Drivers in California to Set Their Own Rates

    Uber launched another announcement for drivers recently, again for California drivers in response to AB5. Originally this feature was only available to California drivers at select airports, but now more drivers around California are able to set their own rates.

    Now, drivers in California can choose to leave “Auto-Pricing” (i.e. Uber’s normal pricing) on or choose a different fare multiplier. Drivers can go higher than the typical pricing Uber sets up to 5X, or drivers can choose to underprice their competition (to .5X).

    Is this a start in the direction of letting drivers in California set their own prices? Drivers had a lot to say about this!

    Here’s what readers are saying:

    Some drivers were cautiously optimistic about this news, hoping that it would potentially allow drivers to eventually become true independent contractors (ICs):

    Let the race to the bottom begin, if Uber lets drivers pick less than 1X.

    If they let drivers see passenger ratings & let them hire other drivers to work for them then drivers will move much closer to being real ICs.”

    Chime in on the discussion here.

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    -Harry @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    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.