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Christmas is coming early to all CA drivers. Uber announced today that drivers will get to see a lot more information regarding the trip request before they accept it! This is great news, as from my previous posts on Rideguru, I am not one who trusts Uber or Lyft since I have been burned so many times before by fare cuts and negative app changes. But this news really caught me off guard. I am thrilled that finally, at least in CA, drivers will be treated as true IC (Independent Contractors).
How many times have we called an electrician or a plumber who are independent contractors for their services? Imagine placing a call to a plumber and telling them that we will not disclose what the job entails and we will not disclose what they are going to get paid for the specific job until they show up with their expensive tools to fix the problem. How many do you think will hang up on you? Probably all of them. But as Uber drivers (Uber does close to 8 million rides a day in the US alone) we show up in front of passenger’s home, workplace, airports, bars, and restaurants eight million times a day without knowing what the job is or what we are going to get paid. Well, things are about to change!
Under the leadership of CA Assemblywoman, Lorena Gonzalez, the law AB5 was passed in September of 2019. I have written in detail on RideGuru about the subject. This law is hated by Uber, Lyft and many gig economy companies since their business model solely depends on their workers being classified as IC (Independent Contractors) although millions of drivers, couriers and shoppers do the exact work of an employee. This law which will go into effect as of January 1, 2020 will change all that, Uber, Lyft and countless of other gig economy companies will NOT be able to classify their workers as IC and skimp on paying a living wage, healthcare, and retirement benefits, overtime, paid vacation, etc. Workers for all digital app platforms will be considered employees and AB5 will threaten the core existence of the gig companies.
There has been a lot of important debate about flexible work and what it means to drive with Uber in California. With the passage of new laws (AB5), Uber has been carefully considering how they could further protect the driver’s access and enhance the flexibility and transparency of the Uber platform going forward. It is important for the driver to know that come January 1, you’ll still be able to earn with Uber when and where you want, as your own boss.
Drivers in CA told Uber flexibility is the #1 reason they choose Uber: the ability to work entirely on your own schedule; to leave or return to the platform whenever you want; to work on other platforms at the same time; and for each of those decisions to be fundamentally your own.
But Uber also heard from drivers that Uber can do more to improve the experience for drivers so they can reap the full independence that the platform can provide.
So starting today, as a driver, you will see more information upfront that will help you earn on your own terms. Uber will also add new features to help you build your business on our platform. And in the coming months, Uber will also make the fare structure more straightforward so it’s clear where your earnings and fees come from.
Some of these changes are ones that many of the drivers have suggested in the past, and some upcoming changes will take some time to get used to. Either way, all of the changes will make working with Uber better for you. The following feature updates launched today and will be fully available to all California drivers by mid-January 2020!
You’ll see trip information upfront so you can make informed decisions. By seeing your pickup, trip time, distance, destination and fare upfront, you’ll know what you can expect to earn and where a trip will take you, all before you accept, on every trip. The dollar amount you see is the estimated amount you’ll take home, after Uber’s service fee, if you accept the trip. Your final earnings calculation will not change, and is still based on the actual time and distance of the trip. This applies to all trips, including UberPool.
You’ll see the same upfront destination information when riders are added to your UberPool trips (with upfront fare estimate coming soon). As a reminder, rejecting requests for discriminatory reasons, including rejecting trips solely to avoid particular neighborhoods, violates Uber’s Community Guidelines and California law. You can review the Community Guidelines here.
Your acceptance rate will no longer affect your Uber Pro status and access to Uber Pro rewards. Uber Pro points, your driver star rating, and cancellation rate will still determine your status.
And remember, if you have a safety concern after arriving at the pickup location or your rider doesn’t show up, your cancellation rate won’t change.
Uber is going to build more products that help you grow your business. You should be able to earn more by providing your customers with great service. Starting today, providing a 5 star trip for your riders will create opportunity for more business later. After a 5-star rating, your rider can now add you as his/her favorite driver. In early 2020, riders will be able to request their favorite drivers when scheduling a trip in advance, giving you the first opportunity to accept the reservation request as soon as the ride is scheduled. If you give a rider a 1-star rating, you won’t be matched on future rides.
Starting December 3, you will begin to see additional trip details on your offer card before you accept, including the rider’s pickup and dropoff locations as well as your estimated take-home earnings for that trip. You will also see the estimated time and mileage from the pickup to the dropoff location. Not every driver in California will have access to this update immediately on December 3, initially about 30% of drivers will have access to this information, Uber will continue to update this over the course of a few weeks, and expect all California drivers to have access by January 2020.
The estimate is our best prediction for what you can expect to earn on the trip, based on the expected time and mileage that the trip takes. Because your earnings are based on the actual time and distance of a trip, the total will be calculated after the trip ends and may fall outside of the estimated range. If trip details change, such as the route, pickup or dropoff locations, added stops, or unexpected delays, your actual earnings may be outside of the range.
The fare estimate is calculated by adding the base fare, plus the expected time and distance of the trip. Other fare components such as taxes, reimbursements, and other fees are not included in this estimate.
Surge will be listed as a separate additive amount on the offer card, and will not immediately be included in the estimated fare range. You will still be able to see the full calculation of your time and distance earnings, surge, and other components on your trip receipt.
If trip details change, such as the rider adding stops or changing the pickup or dropoff locations, you will continue to earn for the actual miles and minutes driven. This may cause your actual earnings to be outside of the estimated fare range.
Uber is making changes to Uber Pro status eligibility so you are able to qualify for UberPro rewards while only accepting the trips you want to take. Moving forward, you can unlock higher UberPro status with your points, star rating, and cancellation rate.
Riders can now add you as a favorite driver in the app. You and other drivers will be able to see how many riders have favorited you in your profile starting next month. Beginning in early 2020, riders will have the ability to schedule a ride hours or days in advance, and you’ll have an early chance to accept their trip request. If you’ve given a rider a 1-star rating, they won’t be matched with you.
No, these features are available to California drivers only. As with all feature launches, Uber will monitor the effects of the change to ensure the experience is working properly and doesn’t create any unintended issues for drivers or riders. Uber will continue to evaluate expanding these features beyond California in the future.
As I said in the beginning of the article, I am very surprised to say the least. I never thought I would see the day in which Uber would provide drivers with this kind of information without any strings attached. (Really? I am pinching myself!)
I am all for these positive changes but without raining on Uber's parade here, when was the last time Uber did something good for the driver without taking something away? There will be a price to pay, I hope it is not too high of a price! Will they take away the surge completely? Will they cut the rates to 30 cents a mile like Lyft has in many cities and pay the driver from the acceptance of the ping? Will they take away the remaining DFs (Destination Filter)? Only time will tell!
In my opinion, these changes will not make the driver more money! We are all run by the Uber algorithms, forget the freedom and flexibility rhetoric of Uber, I have been cherry picking all my driving career, now everyone gets to do it! With minimum fare passengers being stranded constantly, Uber may flip this around after a million complaints! Unless they offer incentives to drivers for picking up shorties with juicy CRB (Consecutive Ride Bonus) or quests, short trips will most likely be declined by most drivers and passenger ETAs will skyrocket.
Average Uber ride in the country is 6 miles, so the example shown on the Uber blog is not the average ride. Why do you ask? Well, if that ride was in Los Angeles at 60/21 cent base rates, that trip would pay the driver about $10. How do they put it in a range of $14-19? It must have a Penny Surge of $4-9!
Remember the 6 destination filters? Why did they cut it back to 2 after increasing them to 6 in a few weeks? It was because passenger ETAs were going to be adversely affected, you don't think this will do that? Remember the rate increase in September of 2018 to be slashed by 25% in March of 2019?
Lastly, these changes would not have been possible without Uber facing the bazooka called AB5! Will Lyft follow? How about that, for all the folks who opposed it? This is a great starting point though! Enjoy it drivers, it is a great day to be a rideshare driver, at least for now!