Friday, August 28, 2015

Uber paradox and why you should tip

I wanted to do a follow-up article to the one I did in January (It's not worth it to drive Lyft and Uber in Sacramento) because this week Uber has been celebrating its One Millionth Ride in Sacramento. All week long they've been doing special things for Uber customers. On Tuesday there was Chando's deliveries, Wednesday a chance to win a trip to Hawaii, and Friday a chance to win a cruise. Yay. Great. But what about the drivers? Zip. Nothing.

What Uber SHOULD be doing is having two celebrations. One for the customers, but another for the drivers!  We are the ones doing all the work for miserable pay. Better yet, pay us more!

My prior post goes into all the reasons it sucks to be a driver now. I've actually stopped driving. I'm not interested in making money for greedy Uber and losing money myself. 

The Kum-ba-ya of Uber is gone

I find it interesting that at first it seemed the whole idea of ride sharing was that people could sign up and drive Uber on their spare time and make some money. A kumbaya, sense of community, communal idea. And at first the money was good. 

Now the only way to make money driving is to go full-time. I truly think that for part-time drivers they are losing money, not making it. It's the working of full-time+ hours that helps the drivers to average out their dollars/hour earnings. 

So think about it. Uber has become as taxi as any taxi company. Full-timers are sticking with it, but part-timers are giving up. New drivers sign up, become quickly disillusioned and quit. So much for kumbaya.

So this is why you should take pity and tip your Uber driver


Uber saying that tipping is included is bullshit. If you tip a server at the restaurant or the manicurist at the salon, do they give a cut of their tip to the house? No! It's a thank you to the person who performed the service.  So why would a tip, included in the fare, be cut by 20% and given to Uber? What did they do to earn it? Nothing.

The idea that a tip is included in the fare is ludicrous because the fares are so goddamn low. 

This is an example of why I don't drive anymore:  Turn on the app. Get first ride. It's within midtown so the fare is $5, that means I get $4.  Sit around for an hour. Get another ride. Another $4.  Woohoo!  

That's not even worth my pulling out of the driveway. Remember, my expenses includes gas, car maintenance, car washes, and insurance.  

Here's the thing you probably didn't know about insurance

Let's say we get in a huge collision so that my car is totaled and you and I are both injured. Lucky you. Uber is going to pay for your medical expenses, etc.  They aren't paying a thing for me and my car. That's supposed to be covered by my insurance. But let's say I have regular car insurance just like you do. My insurance company gets the accident report, sees that I was ridesharing, and immediately cancels and voids my insurance. I was not covered. So now I've lost my car and I've got huge medical bills to pay for on my own.

As of July 1 rideshare drivers in California are required to have additional ridesharing insurance. It's a new law, but I will tell you that at least half, if not more, of the drivers driving you around do not carry it. Why? Because it is expensive! And has Uber increased rates to help drivers with this new expense? No. In fact, in the middle of July they lowered rates in the last good rate area of Northern California - the Bay area. There's a higher rate in San Francisco proper, but anywhere in the East bay or lower than SFO has had a rate reduction equivalent to Sacramento's crappy low rates.

So be kind and tip

Yes, tipping means you would have to have cash on you. Yes, we drivers understand that the beauty of the app is that you don't have to pay with cash. But IF you happen to have even $2 on you, tip the driver.  And just so you know, many drivers, including myself, will only give 5 star ratings to tipping customers. 


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