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Uber’s EPIC blunder

By Oscar Levant

Uber, in an effort to make car ownership more expensive than taking an UberX car to and from wherever, Uber has failed to consider that the net savings gained by the riders by abandoning car ownership is transfered to the driver as a cost. Whatever it costs riders to maintain and operate vehicles, that cost is exponentially increased to drivers, and there is a point of diminishing returns for drivers regarding rates.

Effectively, driver morale has tanked. With the new rates, they are so low that Uber
us crossed the threshold of diminishing returns. For me, $2 a mile felt like the right rate for an UberX.
Plenty cheaper than a cab, and plenty of incentive to use UberX.

That is precisely what happened to the taxi industry. in the 90s , we made good money.

But, taxi corporations weren’t focused on customers, they were focused on squeezing more out of drivers, not considering what effect on busines the inevitable diminished driver moral had on the business, and so they switched to leasing, instead of paying commissions, and when they did that,
if forced drivers to work a 12 hour shift to get the full benefit of the lease ( leases were 12 hour shifts).
Now, many leases are even higher since they are 24/7, with the logic the day rate isn’t that bad, if you work 16 hours a day, 12 days a week. Well, many drivers do and you’d get burned out, too, if you had to work like that. This caused many Americans like me to quit, and so the only people left driving are foreigners who can’t find a job anywhere else. So, drivers are in a constant bad mood, driver morale tanked in the taxi industry. This caused a huge void, and now, enter Uber, it was easy for them, and with the clever app an all, they inherited all the business.

And now, it’s happening with Uber. The race to the bottom has the same squeezing and morale killing effect. Taxi-land mediocrity, here we come !

I don’t’ think Uber understands how low driver morale is a cancer on the enterprise. It won’t show up immediately balance sheets. It will, in time, but it will be too late to do anything about it

It is what I call an “insidious” thing, creeping danger. Insidious means “an attractive idea (rates crossing diminishing returns threshold ) at first, but it will consume you alive at a time when it is too late to do anything about it”. Alluring, but harmful, is the dictionary definition.

When drivers are in a bad mood, customers pick up on it, and gradually get fed up with the service, and go with another company, if there is one, and, of course, there is the one that wears a mustache.

Uber, you’d better listen to what this old man who has driven for 15 years in the transportation industry is telling you. The situation with Travis ( CEO ) reminds me of the Wall Street flick, we have a young hungry entrepreneur who is doing so well he cannot see the cliff his vehicle is driving at breakneck speed towards. The energy of the momentum forward will render the car irreversible if he waits until he’s at the cliff’s edge to turn the car around. Travis can’t see it, but I can. I’ll bet a lot of drivers of X cars can, too. I’ve seen it happen to a number of cab companies, all of whom came and went, and now are mere footnotes in the dustbin of transportation history.

During the 90s, there were a couple of real cheap cab companies, cheaper than Yellow, trying to compete against Yellow. But, all the cheap cabs went out of business, and a number of them came and went from the late 70s to the 90s, when I quit. Yellow had higher rates, but faster service, and they had the lion’s share of business, during that time. But, they chose mediocrity and now they don’t have squat and have to rely on foreign nationals to pay their egregious leases.

It will take some time for Uber to really hurt, but in today’s world, a lot less time than it used to take.

Also, CEO seems to think that by making taking an UberX cheaper than car ownership, Americans will abandon, sell, their cars, etc. No, they will not . Americans have a love affair with the auto, and the primary reason people use UBer is to prevent getting a DUI, and that means it will always be a Friday and Saturday thing. So, if they hire enough drivers for Friday and Saturday, there will always be too many drivers on the other days.

Uber, you’d better listen up. UBer was fun, several months ago, but the money isn’t worth it, and alas, Uber isn’t fun anymore. And when driving becomes drudgery, Uber will be just another mediocrity, in a sea of mediocrity, all because the CEO lacked the wisdom to hire a guy like me to give him a second opinion on policy decisions.

Tick tick tick tick, it’s just a matter of time. Now, the rates are so egregiously low that driver of X cars are not compensated for use of their cars. Effectively, Uber is stealing driver’s cars, collectively, mile by mile driven. Is it any less of a crime to steal one dollar from a million people over one million dollars from one person? Oh, I’ve heard Uber’s rebuttal: “But drivers will make more”. Hey Travis, when drivers were at capacity on the previous rate, which was competitive, how can the do more trips at the new rate, if they are at capacity already? How is a person more incentivized to call and Uber when, at the previous rate, it was 100% cheaper than a cab, and better service, when now, you have a even cheaper rate, but drivers are complaining a lot to customers ( do not believe they aren’t, they are, big time) ? See, Travis? Driver morale doesn’t appear on balance sheets. Surveys might help a little, but how can they be trusted if the drivers don’t trust them to be anonymous? how about telephone surveys? Noooo, you’re not wise enough to consider that, I didn’t think so.

And, by the way, I really and truly want Uber to succeed. I am an optimist, that this post on this forum will somehow find it’s way to upper management, and they change things to make Uber fun again. That’s all I ever wanted, a fun way to make extra money, decent money during my off-season on my other business, which has its own set of problems I’m dealing with.

If Uber were smart, they would hire an experienced driver, an old fart like me, who could play devil’s advocate. I could have easily debunked Travis’s libertarian-influenced 8x on surge to become a PR flap of epic proportions. Today, I predict that current rates are tantamount to driver exploitation. The cancer that will ensue, will eventually engulf Uber, and this, plus the underhanded and unfair cutthroat biz tactics will color Uber as the big bully, and that narrative has already begun, and it’s growing, and it’s growing, and it won’t be long that all of your celebrity buds will drop Uber like a polluted potato …….

NO ONE likes a bully, Travis. Wake the fu*k up. You are sitting atop a powerful vehicle, and it’s moving fast, the money and attention is a tremendous high, and the ride is exhilarating, seductive, intoxicating, but you just don’t see the cliff, do you?

Do you? I didn’t think so.

Another thing, Lyft is not going to turn over and die for yo’ ass, so get over it. Lyft is here to stay, now you two need to get along, and share the terrain, there’s plenty for everyone, and with that attitude, your riders will love you for it, even more. But, once the word gets out you’re a big bully, it’s over.

But, I’m probably living in La La Land, it wont be the first time — yeah, I know, “dream on”, if Travis even gets this message. He’s surrounded by yesmen on twitter.

16 Comments on Uber’s EPIC blunder

  1. Vincent Millar // September 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm // Reply

    Travis is such a greedy arrogant prick it will be only a matter of time before he runs the company right into the ground.

    • This is an awesome ponzi scheme. Scam artist are all the same, run it as long as you can and get out. Then when its too late you figure out the fix is in. Think about it, you receive the confirmation you’ve won a prize just send us your money to receive your prize.

  2. I love their plan…get the masses to love them and screw everyone else.

  3. Wow this site has come a long way in a couple of months! Keep up the good work and the upgrade looks amazing.

  4. Your UBER review was spot on! The only issue, as I am sure you are aware, is your words would appeal only to a company who cares. By that, I mean actually cares about customers & drivers. Trust me, they are not going the route of taxi companies, they started out that way upon conception. When UBER has run its course for Travis, he will sell it & make another app for something else. The outcome for the next buyer? Who knows? Maybe it will be somebody who might listen to your words.

  5. Excellent article! Someone forward this to Travis immediately.

  6. Ha ha your talking about a guy that would sell his mother for a buck. He doesn’t give a fu@k.

  7. I use to work for them but i quit because 60-70 % of the customers were asking me if its legal ,because they saw on the news that its not ,I am just sick of it .The true is that uberX its illegal ,and hopefully will be stopped soon .However the “TAXI”,”BLACK CAR” and “SUV” options of the app are 100% legal and insured .I don`t understand how Uber management cannot understand that they are loosing a lot of customers when promoting something illegal and without liability insurance in case of emergency and accident -uberX. Will work for them again when they realize the true .

  8. I have been a huge Uber fan since moving to Chicago. Normally, I have minimal to no complaints.

    However, this morning, the uber I requested picked up someone else (not confirming it was me). Whoever he picked up, took a $53.00 cab ride to the airport that I now have to pay for.

    There is no customer support phone number, which is EXTREMELY frustrating. Instead of an actual person resolving the issue in 5 minutes, I will have to wait who knows how long for an email response.

    This is the kind of thing that results in loyal customers to leave and seek the same service elsewhere. 18 Billion dollar company and I can’t speak to one live person to straighten out this error they charge my account.

  9. I see a lot of problems down the road for this company. Eventually all those lawsuits will catch up to them but until then full steam a head.

  10. April Aguila // October 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm // Reply

    WTF? This is the most poorly written commentary on Uber I’ve seen. I have no idea what you’re attempting to say.
    From the comments: The person who says his account was used by another user, just write to them. They have the most amazing customer service I’ve ever experienced. They’ll figure out who should pay for the service if the driver neglected to check he had the right customer…
    Driver took an inefficient route? Just write to them. They’ll calculate it and refund you.
    Uber doesn’t own a single vehicle. That’s why they are legal. They are like a matchmaking company. Do you want to sue Match.com because you didn’t like your date?

    • Bad example there April.. Would you sue Match.com if you didn’t like your date.
      If I was hooked up with a date with Match.com and….
      They proceeded to meet me up and bash my head in with a hammer or kidnapped me and sexually molested me in a sleazy hotel or if I was simply trying to walk in an intersection and my date ….. RAN ME OVER AND KILLED ME..
      Would I sue Match.com? SURE WOULD..
      Be honest… UBER is a danger to the public.

  11. Too many sordid and dusgusted details are disclosed over and over

    http://valleywag.gawker.com/uber-and-its-shady-partners-are-pushing-drivers-into-su-1649936785

  12. We can not quit
    We cant give up
    We started this crab; now we got continuing supporting travis and the pseudopax scum, now
    Whats going to happen with them?accostumed to pay nanopeanuts for taxi we can not let them down
    This poor disgusted pseudopax are not willing to ride anymore on the stinky taxis
    Also with this new rates homeless and walfare recipients would be able to have a decent transpirtation
    Travis will be very proud of us for help him to depreciate the taxi industry now “new rates” by a 80% and make believe all this cheap, frugal, arrogant, cinics, disgusted, shameless, classless pax that we are a bounch of mental retarders doing this just for fun or the pleasure to meet such scum
    Keep doing like that ill like to see how you end up in the bext comming days dealing with the stress and the pressure of know that some scum people is rating you despite the nanopeanuts they are paying you comparing with the disgusted stinky cabs
    So please delete that stupid idea of quit from your head
    Travis at this point is very pleased
    And dont forget; he loves you

  13. Travis wont need to worry about driver morale, he is firing them all in 5 years! Look here: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/03/are-driverless-cars-the-future-of-uber

    Self driving Uber cars! All the drivers who built uber can kiss their jobs goodbye in 5 years.

  14. http://uberpeople.net/threads/you-are-better-than-this.31342/ But who cares if you are better than travis or your career or goal in life or chasing a dream? The important thing is that we are helping travis cartel to increase his fortune every nanosecond And we are helping travis cartel to depressiate the taxi industry by 80%”with last travis cartel fares” And we are helping travis cartel to turn the pseudoriders more and more cheap, frugal, arrogant, rough, cinics, disgusted, classless, shameless, demanding a lot more for a lot less Do u can imagine what this poor pseudoriders going to do without us? So, Travis should be proud of the nice job we are performing with our little and irrelevants sacrifices Please think about it and please dont quit

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