For months the Uber driver app has slowed down the flow of trip information to the driver. At the end of a trip, the app used to immediately display the driver’s share of the fare (or, in the beginning, the total fare). Recently, as I attempted to log off, Uber sent me a message that indicated they know more than they tell us drivers.
Uber’s manipulative messages to drivers
Because they classify drivers as independent contractors and not employees, Uber can’t assign work shifts to its drivers. It has to hope enough sign on to the network to meet the demands of the ridership. Once a driver logs on, Uber wants to keep them active for as long as they can.
When a driver attempts to log off, Uber sends them a message giving them a mini-goal that they haven’t quite met.
Often, that goal is meaningless. Look at this message they sent me. “You’re only 8 minutes away from driving 3 hours. Are you sure you want to go offline?”
Uber doesn’t pay hourly wages; they pay by the trip. This incentive is absolutely valueless for the driver (unless an incentive program was active).
Who cares if I’m on for three hours?
Uber’s slow calculation of fares
Once upon a time, Uber gave important trip information (time, miles and fare) to a driver almost immediately after the trip ended. Recently that began to change. Uber would say “calculating.”
Underneath that, they encourage the driver to continue. “We’re calculating earnings from your last trip. Feel free to keep driving while your payment is being processed.”
I once thought that this was due to a new display of surge zones, which are much more detailed.
When I take a ride, I still get my emailed receipt promptly after a ride finishes.
Uber knows more than they let on
When I tried to log off last week, Uber sent me yet another manipulative message. Thankfully, they change them. This time, they chose a dollar amount as the goal.
Interestingly, the dollar amount included the last fare, which they displayed elsewhere in the program as “processing.”
That tells me they compute information just as fast as ever, but Uber chooses not to display it to me and other drivers for some (nefarious?) reason. Another half hour went by before they finally updated my trips. I ended up making just shy of $30, but they already knew that.
Driving for Uber requires a great amount of trust. Uber has so much information about the behavior of their drivers and their passengers. The way they shield us from data erodes that trust.
Have you seen this?
Let me know.