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Uber: The ride-hailing app that says it has ‘zero’ drivers

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chawes
739 Rider Guru
 Posted 4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Reality distortion field...

Uber contract drivers helped bring in more than three-quarters of the company’s revenue in this year’s first six months. But as Uber would have it, the drivers aren’t essential.

Uber raised eyebrows last month when its chief lawyer asserted that “drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business” in a call laying out the company’s resistance to a California bill that would alter the employment status of many “gig” workers. It is a legal strategy the Silicon Valley company has been honing for years that helps it avoid responsibility for the actions of its drivers.

“They are not Uber drivers,” Valentino said. “They’re independent, third-party transportation providers.” He repeated the claim no fewer than 16 times, to the attorney’s apparent consternation.

“If you are going to keep saying they are not drivers, we are just going to be fussing about that all afternoon,” said the attorney, Michael Todd Wheeles.

“That’s okay,” Valentino said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/10/14/uber-ride-hailing-app-that-says-it-has-zero-drivers/

Comments

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    JeeveyJeeves
    17 Rider
     4 weeks ago

    I didn't even read what this said I am just here to say awesome title, made me laugh. thanks.

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    Uberserge
    1157 Rider Driver
     4 weeks ago

    Same argument was made by another Uber lawyer, this is the excerpt of that conversation

    Show Hide  4 Replies
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      chawes
      OP 739 Rider Guru
       4 weeks ago

      They call themselves a marketplace. That's complete BS because they set the rates. An actual market would have prices set by the drivers, which I think is what the judge is trying to get at in that exchange. I suppose Uber's argument would be that surge pricing is like market pricing, but that's also BS because, again, they set the surge rate, not the drivers.

      I have often thought that a rideshare system that actually sets up a real market could work really well. Where drivers set their own rates, and the rider app selects the best ride automatically based on a combination of price, pickup time, shared/non-shared (pool), luxury level, etc. Riders could set their app to prioritize certain factors over others.

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        Uberserge
        1157 Rider Driver
         4 weeks ago

        There was Sidecar before U/L, it was set up the way you suggested but didn't have the funding, when U/L showed up they got crushed. 

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          chawes
          OP 739 Rider Guru
           4 weeks ago

          I never used Sidecar, but from what I understand, it wasn't as automatic as that. Drivers would set their rates, and then riders would have to choose a driver from a list of options. Way too much work compared to the simplicity of Uber's rider experience. 

          The key to making this work would be the rider app automation. Ie. an algorithm to choose a driver automatically, which users could tweak if they want in order to prioritize price or luxury or whatever. If it was done right, it could be just as easy for riders as Uber, but give much more empowerment to drivers.

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            Uberserge
            1157 Rider Driver
             4 weeks ago

            That exactly was their problem. You're also on point by diagnosing UBER'S unwillingness to empower the driver, they are control freaks. All this flexibility and freedom BS they sell is garbage. What IC will show up in front of your house without knowing what the job and pay is, I guess they found enough suckers.