UBER CEO, TRAVIS KALANICK, CALLS IT QUITS – WHAT THIS MEANS FOR DRIVERS
Good news for drivers of Uber, Travis Kalanick has resigned from his position as CEO. Break out the champagne and let’s dance around the fire. Kalanick was actually forced out by the board of directors who recently saw Uber going into a moral free fall given the sexual harassment issues that had taken place in the company. The board could see that a company’s employees were taking on the characteristics and values of the CEO and in the case of Uber, the board clearly saw how Kalanick’s recent decisions and values were impacting the successful growth of the company. Let alone his confrontation with a driver which went viral on Youtube in which Kalanick showed his total lack of sympathy for drivers. For months drivers have been stewing over many of the ridiculous rules that Uber had put in place that made some drivers’ lives so miserable that they quit driving for Uber and decided to drive for other rideshare services like Lyft instead.
Kalanick’s resignation opens the door to some great changes at Uber. The biggest of which is tipping. Kalanick vowed since founding Uber to never implement a tipping system. Understandably Kalanick wanted to make the payment system as simple as possible and he felt that tipping would just complicate things for the passenger. What he did not count on however was the backlash from drivers who also drove for Lyft where tipping was built into the system such that after any given ride the customer could add a tip to the fare electronically with no cash exchanging hands. Some drivers dumped driving for Uber as a result and exclusively switched to driving for Lyft.
With Kalanick now gone, Uber has decided to implement a 180 day plan of changes. Just days ago Uber sent out an email to all drivers in the U.S. describing some of the details of the 180 day plan. Among-st the most significant changes is, what else but tipping. Uber will work to implement a tipping system as part of the app similar to what Lyft has been using for years now.
Another pet peeve of Uber drivers has been the fact that certain types of fares did not count towards the Quest bonus program which called for x number for fares driven per a set number of days that would qualify the driver to receive an additional bonus. There is a feature in the Uber app which is called the destination filter. This feature could be set by the driver by entering their home address as the final destination so that Uber would filter incoming fares and only send out fare requests to the driver that were going in the drivers set direction, usually to go in the direction of home. Well the bottom line is that these fares would not count towards the total fares driven to qualify for an additional bonus, unlike regular fares which could take the driver in any random direction, yet count towards the bonus. With the new changes all types of rides will count towards the bonus program, even ones filtered by the driver to go in a certain direction.
An additional issue many drivers have faced is that a passenger can cancel a fare up to 5 minutes after they place the fare request with the driver receiving absolutely no compensation unless the passenger cancels after 5 minutes has elapsed. The problem has always been that the driver may have driven up to 5 miles towards the passenger pickup destination by the time the passenger cancels and the driver receives nothing for their efforts of having already driven so much towards the pickup location in order to be timely. For the driver that means time and money for gas and wear and tear on the car. Part of the new 180 plan for changes call for a 2 minute limit for passengers to cancel a fare request. This is much more fair to the driver as they will be compensated for their efforts in heading towards the pickup location.
One more cool thing that will help drivers is that after waiting 2 minutes for the passenger at the pick up point, the driver will receive a per minute rate of compensation while continuing to wait. No more freebies for the passengers as this will not only help the driver get paid for waiting but it will also help to get passengers in the vehicle faster which means the driver can squeeze in more rides into their day.
Each of these changes on their own may not sound like much however in the aggregate these changes could mean additional earnings of several thousands of dollars over the course of a year. All these changes will not happen all at once but rather be phased into the app and be rolled out in various cities across the U.S. gradually as Uber usually does for any type of app change. But rest assured the Uber ship has finally changed direction by 180 degrees and this will also help drivers as I am sure that Lyft will review many aspects of their driver compensation program in order to stay competitive and minimize driver turn over.
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