At the end of 2014, Uber sent me an e-mail saying my 2004 Lexus RX330 was going to be deactivated at the beginning of 2015. This was obviously a big worry for me since it’d be pretty hard to blog about being an Uber driver if I didn’t drive for Uber.
But Jan. 1, 2015 came and went and I was still able to log on and drive. I thought maybe it was a glitch or maybe Uber didn’t care, so I din’t say anything.
Some partners received notices that said: as of March 31, 2015, 2004 aged vehicles would no longer be accepted on the platform. I never got that e-mail, but it looks like the Rideshare Gods decided to shine down on me anyways. Uber announced last week that it would be lowering the vehicle requirement to 2000 or newer in many prominent markets (including LA, SF and SD). Here are the cities I’ve confirmed so far:
- 2000 or newer: Austin, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orange County, Providence, San Diego, San Francisco
- 2002 or newer: Chicago, Cincinnati
- 2005 or newer: Atlanta, Phoenix
- 2007 or newer: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
- 2008 or newer: New York
Please let me know below in the comments if you have any corrections or updates to this list. If you’d like to sign up as a new Uber driver, please consider using my affiliate link.
What Does This Mean For Drivers?
For drivers like me, this is a good thing since I’ll be able to continue driving for Uber, but it also means that there are going to be even more drivers out on the road.
Related Article: Uber is now offering $500 bonuses to Lyft drivers
Lyft actually just raised its limit from 2000 to 2003 so just think about all the former/current Lyft drivers who will now be eligible for the $500 bonus for doing one ride with Uber. If you’re someone who’s now eligible, you might as well take advantage of this $500 bonus while it lasts.
Why Did Uber Do This?
I know exactly why Uber did this: GROWTH. Even though Uber isn’t technically a start-up anymore, they’re still in the start-up phase and right now all they care about is passenger and driver growth. And so far, they’ve done a really good job at growing their fleet of drivers. Just look at this graph of active driver growth by city:
That type of growth is what’s referred to in the start-up world as ‘hockey stick’. If you’re a billion dollar company, that’s what you want to see. And right now, Uber is doing everything it can to maintain that rate of growth. The only problem they’re finding is that while there may be a seemingly infinite number of passengers available (and cars they can replace), there is a very finite pool of drivers.
The ironic thing about this whole situation is that going forward Uber is going to depend heavily on its drivers in order to continue on its
war growth path. On a macro level, the company has done amazing things for drivers who can now set their own hours, earn money when they want and be their own boss. They wouldn’t have close to 200,000 drivers if it wasn’t a desirable job (compared to other lines of work at least).
But on a micro level, they are one of the worst when it comes to driver support, communication and building a sense of community. I like to joke that the reason why people value my site so much is because Uber does such a bad job at all of this.
Now that driver retention (or lack of it) is starting to affect growth, I predict that we will start to see a push by Uber to do a better job of supporting its drivers. Just the other day, they announced the release of Momentum Magazine and they also have Momentum Partner Rewards for drivers. I’m not terribly impressed with either of these programs, but hey, at least it’s a start.
Drivers, what do you think about Uber’s new age requirement? Do you think it has something to do with maintaining driver growth?
-The RideShare Guy