Scribbles of the mind...

Saturday December 5, 5.20AM, I had to leave to the airport of SFO, so what do you do? Open app, check for an Uber driver, set destination, done. Right? Right! So far so good, 2 minutes later the driver pulls up on the parking lot, really nice guy, helps me with the luggage and we're ready to go.
Now something amazing will happen? Nope, sorry, we drove off, and started talking about Uber, located in the heart of San Francisco.

Let's call the driver D., D. woke up at 5am and I was his first pickup of the day, the last one he picked up was the night before at 11pm. Quick calculation, less than 6 hours of sleep. He assures me that's normal nowadays, if he doesn't do so many hours, he doesn't earn enough anymore.
He's been driving for Uber for more than 9 months now, in that time his earnings dropped by 40%...FORTY !!! Damn!
He has a wife and 2 kids, a house to pay for, the car, insurance, ... Life in San Francisco can be expensive.

So along the ride we start talking about how Uber takes care of business... Well, Uber takes care of their business, not as much as they take care of their drivers... "Tyranny" was a word that didn't come out of his mouth, but I'm sure we both thought of it at the end of the conversation. If you want to make some money with Uber today, you have to bend and fold towards their conditions and changes, no questions asked, no remarks given. Recently Uber has cut the price if fares, which is great if you use Uber to get around, but not when you depend on it for a living. A trip from San Francisco city center to the airport used to be about $50, leaving about 35-40$ for the driver. I payed 27$, which leaves about $10-13 for the driver... Deduct the costs of the car, fuel, insurance and time from that and you have about $5 or $6 left...

You make more at McDonalds! The strategy Uber is using will lead them to a difficult situation... Why?
Let's have some bullet points here :

  • Drivers earn good money the first 2 - 3 months, then they are reduced to a lower earning.
  • Drivers wanting to earn enough, need to work for 17 hours, have you been driving for 17 hours? How was your concentration?
  • Uber matches the rides, the driver doesn't know where he has to go to until the passenger enters the car.
  • Uber single handedly decides on what they pay the drivers
  • Ratings drop below 4.6 for a driver? Uber threatens to kick him off and take away their income
  • Average age of the drivers : 25-45

I heard a lot more during my ride, but these are the ones that kept popping up in my mind.
What about McDonald's? Well, McDonald's openly communicates with their employees, also the target employee group for McDonald's are teenagers, they don't have a house to pay for yet, no kids (at least most of them), no insurance, ... If you work at McDo, you know each month, week, what you're earning. No unexpected reductions... No 17 hours long workdays... Hell, compared to Uber the burger place is the place to work...

No offence to anyone, but sometimes we need to think a bit further than just the app, we need to think about the people behind the app, and I'm not talking about the CEO, the developpers, ... I'm talking about the puppets that are string-pulled by the app...

Anyhow, Happy Freaking Holidays! Try to do some extra good these days...


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