Roundup

Friday Rideshare Roundup: The Real World of Driving for Uber and Lyft

By September 26, 2014April 10th, 20176 Comments

Contents:

7 min read

    7 min read

    Lyft lowered prices by 10-30% in major markets across the country this week which pissed off a lot of people.  I’m one of those people but as you guys know I’m always going to figure out a way for you guys to beat the system, so stay tuned and let’s all help each other figure out ways to make more money despite Lyft and Uber’s best efforts to stifle us!  Today, RSG contributor Jack Ross highlights a couple feel good stories and breaks down some of the crazy stuff that happens to us rideshare drivers.

    Happy Friday everyone! In the words of the late Stringer Bell, let’s “get on wit it motha-fa*SHOTGUN NOISES*”

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    After a couple weeks of discussing/recapping the ridesharing world from the ol’ high level, birds-eye (business practices, funding rounds, new even more disruptive companies, and as always, angry taxi co.’s and regulators), a great deal of press this week dissects the nitty gritty of what it’s actually like to drive these days. Shit is about to get REAL.

    And while, no, the picture is entirely rosy, there are reasons aplenty for optimism.

    Like, you know, when companies...

    Do Awesome and Help Employ People Who May Have Difficulties Working.

    Like the article concludes, it’s hard to see this as anything but positive. As a driver, I’ve heard many stories of people with challenges like partial paralysis who find work driving for TNCs and absolutely love their work driving. The more companies do this, the better.

    But It’s Less Awesome When They Aren’t Actually Employees

    This is fascinating work from New York Magazine that explores (and perhaps derides?) the wide-sweeping trend of startup companies like Uber/Lyft (and a bajillion others) employing a huge work force who are not technically company employees.

    I imagine the opinions on this one are all over the map — from drivers who want to unionize, to people who couldn’t give two f—‘s as long as they make a decent wage —but the larger implications of this are important, in my opinion anyways.

    The RSG himself — who made rounds all over the web this week — has definitely made it clear: remember you are not bound to any one company and proceed accordingly, as wisely as possible. My opinion? The movement of huge companies that don’t care about their “employees” as anything more than human labor/capital is not the optimal business practice for our world going forward.

    Speaking of RSG, Here’s His Recent Easy Read on Uber Driver Diaries

    Where he goes in-depth debating the merits of Lyft and Uber, as well as which company actually makes the most sense to drive for.

    RSG Also Did A Killer Podcast This Week for Savings Angel

    Check it out to hear about how much money you can safely expect from hours/days/weeks of driving (and also a few tips on getting free cash via gift cards).

    In other news, Is Uber Listening to Cries to Treat Drivers Better? Slash Do They Care About People?

    “No” to both, says Yossi Shaffi, the director of MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics. A very elequent argument that they should. And yet another slightly serious warning to the big guys about the company’s somewhat lacking people skills.

    But Lyft and Uber Drivers REALLY Are Awesome People!

    This Tampa newspaper writer’s fluff piece went so far as to call his driver the nicest person he’s ever met! In all of Tampa Bay! Go Devil Rays!

    In fact, Drivers are SO NICE, Pax May Want To Hook Up With Them!

    Thanks for blowing the lid of this gem, ABC News via Whisper. But yeah, since I’ve started driving in 2013, I’ve heard my fair share of stories from drivers about “getting to know” people as a driver. Plain and simple, this kind of stuff is going to happen. My experience? I’ll say I’ve met a lot of very interesting, extremely nice people as a driver. Outside of that, I’ll take the cliche and corny extremely clever out and say: “What Happens In The Car, Stays in The Car.” So sue me, LV.

    (Seriously, though, this could be a HUGE liability for Uber/Lyft down the road). #ridesharebreakups #becarefuloutthere #CONSENT

    That said, The Reality of Being A Driver Can Be a Biatch

    “I should probably start playing the lottery. I’d certainly have better odds.” Dang. Harsh—but true? Very well-written work here from Kelly Dessaint in Oakland, CA, about life behind the rideshare wheel. It ain’t easy, but gotta keep on keepin’ on.

    The Reality of Being A LyftPlus Driver Can ALSO Be a BIG Biatch

    Man, this one straight up sucks. I feel for all the drivers who participated in this failed Lyft idea (and makes me wonder how well this whole LyftLine business in LA is going to fly…)

    Here’s one suggestion to the former LyftPlus drivers or any altruistic tech-savvy Lyfters/super compassionate people: start a Change.org petition to get those people’s money back and throw it in front of Lyft HQ. I know I’d support that cause whole-heartedly.

    Speaking of LyftLine, Lyft Buys a Carpooling Startup to Help That Cause

    Congratulations, Hitch. You got bought by Lyft and now thousands and millions of Americans know your company, and you may even help LyftLine succeed.

    Also, maybe some of your employees are in the market to buy a Lyft-branded SUV with an MSRP of $34,000?

    Speaking of Business: A London Entrepreneur (Whose Family Fought Napoleon) is Fighting Uber/Lyft with Taxisharing App

    The app is called Maaxi. And good news for UK taxi-drivers: it sounds like it makes solid business sense. Perhaps apps like this, that keeps cabs viable, could be a good thing to push wages higher for TNC drivers in the future? Wishful thinking, perhaps. Interesting, nonetheless.

    The Obligatory (Somewhat) Obvious Headline of the Week: “Uber, AirBnb a Danger to Car Rentals, Hotels”

    I suppose not so obvious that Uber/Lyft could threaten the Hertz’s of the world. Good to know the potential for TNC market creep into the rental car realm. (WARNING: The link may ask you to buy a Barron’s subscription after viewing multiple times)

    The Obligatory (Extremely) Obvious Headline of the Week pt. 2: “Uber Rides Cost $443 Sometimes!”

    Yet another horror story of a poor woman in Colorado who spent $100+ on her ride Uber ride to go to see Elton John—then paid a ghastly $400+ on the way home! As the Rocket Man says, I guess that’s why they call it the BLUES.

    Great quote from her: “I feel that we should just pay what we paid on the way down there, which was $106.” Unfortunately for her, Uber did not share her sentiment.

    My Favorite Article of the Week: What’s My Rating System and The Five-Star Dilemma for Passengers and Drivers

    Awesome piece about the inception of the system, a hack for riders to be able to see their ratings and tall tales of drivers’ extorting passengers for $5 bills to give them good ratings.

    To be clear, I am NOT fan of the five-star rating system. I would much prefer a less judgmental system that allows me to flag riders for specific things.

    For example: a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a request from Bambi (named changed for anonymity) on a Saturday night at the LAX Holiday Inn Express, and drove her to the Hawthorne Police Station, to swoop her fiancee from the jail there for the “2nd time in 3 weeks.”

    After spending a solid 30 minutes hanging out with her and her man in the parking lot while he laced up his Jordan’s at 11:30pm and deliberated what he wanted to do (“go pick up my gun” was a direct quote and apparently near the top of his to-do list), I dropped ’em off at a 7-Eleven— then absent mindedly gave her five stars on my way out of Hawthorne.

    My fault, I know. But still, bottom line: I think the system could use some work.

    So for any newcomers out there, welcome to the rideshare world in a nutshell! It may not be perfect, but it definitely is interesting.

    And with that, I. Am. Out. (RIP, Stringer)

    Here are the rest of the articles I read during the week.

    So what do you guys and gals think of this week’s stories?  Are we fu&*ed as drivers or do you think things are going to work themselves out eventually once all the dust settles?  These price cuts are ‘temporary’ remember haha.

    Never pay full price for gas again.

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    -Jack @ The Rideshare Guy

    Jack Ross

    Jack Ross

    Jack Ross is a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles. He started driving for Lyft in September 2013 and also drives for Uber and Sidecar.