Uber Select, Uber LUX and Uber Premium are Going Away – Maybe

Are you an Uber Select, LUX or Premium driver? Drivers in select markets recently received a notice in their app or via email about these trip types – is it true they are going away? Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins investigated what’s happening and which markets will be affected.

Drivers who only focus on driving for Uber Select, Uber LUX and Uber Premium are going to have to settle for other options available to them. As of July 31, 2020, those three options will no longer be available within the app in select markets.

Note: According to Uber, this is not affecting drivers in New York or California.

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How Were Drivers Informed?

Uber either sent an in-app message or an email outlining their plan for change. Uber also published this announcement, which states:

“…UberSelect, Uber Premium, Uber Premium SUV, LUX, and LUX SUV will no longer be available after July 31, 2020. Until that date, drivers with accounts and vehicles that qualify for these trip types will still be able to receive trip requests via those options.”

Again, this applies to select markets but not New York or California, according to Uber’s statement. If you have not received this notice in your app or via email, you may not be affected – make sure to reach out to Uber if you have questions. We are working on compiling a full list.

However, lucky for drivers this time, Uber is actually giving drivers some decent notice.

From now until July 31, drivers will be able to continue as normal before any changes take effect. This might give drivers who use Uber Select, Uber LUX or Uber Premium vehicles to figure out their game plan.

Rideshare drivers who currently drive using Uber Select and Uber LUX recently received a message that looked a little like this:

And drivers who currently utilize Uber Premium received a message like this:

Why the Change?

Well, the long and the short of it is that Uber has determined those options are underutilized by passengers. According to the messages drivers in these markets received, there still are other premium trip types (like XL) available to riders and drivers – just not Select, Premium, or LUX.

Note: Drivers in California and New York do not appear to be affected by these changes.

If passengers aren’t paying for it, then why bother having the option at all? The messages they sent to drivers said that drivers and passengers alike were not as responsive to the options as they would have liked, prompting this change to take place.

Basically, Uber had too many options available, and some were so close to each other that it was better to narrow them down once more.

Honestly, with all the options I have here in Minneapolis it’s a bit overwhelming and ridiculous to say the least (and we don’t even have Premium or LUX as options at all):

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

The drivers who currently use vehicles that are specifically approved for those services will be able to use them for basic UberX and/or UberXL rides, depending on what kind of vehicle they are driving.

These rides tend to pay significantly less than the Uber Select, LUX or Premium rides, so it might force some drivers to either quit driving or really switch gears.

If you’re a driver who is losing access to Select, LUX, or Premium, you should sign up with Lyft asap as Lyft isn’t getting rid of their premium tiers (not yet at least). You could also consider getting a cheaper car rental option from Hyrecar to reduce your driver expenses.

As Uber suggested in the message for Uber Premium drivers, they’ll have to utilize UberX or UberXL rides in the meantime. Drivers might also consider upgrading their vehicle to one that would work for Uber Black if they want to keep making larger amounts of money for fewer rides.

But that opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms with commercial insurance, licensing, etc. And in most cities, Uber Black is closed to new drivers, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Otherwise, drivers could consider making sure they have an Uber Comfort-approved vehicle.

Uber Comfort gives the passengers more legroom than they would get in a standard UberX vehicle if they pay a little more for it. They aren’t paying as much as they would for an UberXL, so it’s a good in-between option for taller people, larger people or those who just prefer a bit more room.

You can learn more about becoming an Uber Comfort driver here.

Is This Change for Better or Worse?

Well, for the drivers banking on earning more because they have nicer vehicles, it likely won’t go over well. But there do seem to be too many options out there that aren’t really necessary, so for ease of use, I think it’s a good idea from a passenger perspective.

While this may benefit drivers, it’s yet another reason why we at RSG always talk about driving strategically and planning for life after rideshare.

If you’re a driver affected by these changes, chances are you’re not happy. Uber has offered a chance for drivers affected by this change to give feedback – we encourage you to share your thoughts on how this will affect you here.

You may be considering trading in your car for something cheaper, or upgrading to drive for Uber Black, but another good idea is to diversify your income with other gig jobs.

This time around, Uber is giving drivers more opportunity to plan, so take advantage of it. Let us know what your Plan B is!

Are you being affected by this change? What are your plans? Will this change make you focus more on Lyft? Will you upgrade your vehicle to qualify for Uber Black?

-Paula @ RSG