Over the past few months, Uber has increased it commission fees against Uber drivers. The commission fee is now 25%, up from 20% previously. Drivers across the country are feeling the blow to their pocketbooks from this increase following a series of price drops across the nation which benefit passengers but have caused the quality of drivers to drop as more and more drivers find the proposition for driving for Uber to be less than profitable.
Uber’s recent commission increase is just one of a spade of price-related issues that Uber has dealt its drivers. From seasonal rate decreases to general price decreases, and most of all not allowing their passengers to make their own decisions regarding tips which results in Uber drivers seeing less money coming in. For drivers who depend on ridesharing for their livelihood, these cuts can lead to earning less than minimum wage in many cases.
The Uber Freedom / #UberStrike Movement
Uber drivers around the country are clamoring for better pay and overall treatment from Uber. One former driver is taking it even further. Abe Husein, a former Uber driver, has chosen to rally a strike against Uber via his Facebook page called “Uber Freedom“. He has started a Facebook page to raise awareness of the strike and has implemented a GoFundMe campaign to market the strike.
Mr. Husein’s goals are four-fold:
- Raise Uber X rates by 60% across the board.
- Add a tip option on the app (Vugo already helps Uber Drivers collect Tips Electronically. We wanted to motivate Uber to allow drivers to accept tips.)
- Raise min fare to $7
- Raise cancellation fee to $7
When is the Strike?
The strike is to take place across the U.S., running from October 16 to October 18.
What happens if the strike is successful?
If the strike is successful, Uber drivers may see an uptick in income. But many commentators and drivers do not believe that a strike is the right way to go. For one thing, Uber drivers are independent contractors. They are not employees, and are not unionized, so calling this a “strike” is off-base. Many drivers like Uber Man are actively opposed to the Strike and are holding a competing event called Uber Appreciation Weekend. Lastly, Uber may not feel the blunt of this strike if organizers are unable to get a large number of drivers to participate which means the strike itself may embolden the company to seize even a larger percentage of earnings from trips.
Vugo’s Take: Maximize Income, Maintain Fierce Independence.
Vugo’s mission has always been to help drivers maximize their income. Thus Uber not allowing passengers to make their own decisions when it comes to tipping is a much needed feature that we feel strongly about. Especially as a tech company founded by an Uber driver, this is something we thoroughly understand and believe Uber should make available ASAP.
However we want to highlight the nature of the Ride-sharing economy and the relationship between Uber and it’s drivers. Drivers are independent and should remain so, drivers should also maintain their independence from any union or attempt at mandatory organization. Instead, we believe that drivers should vote with their feet and improve their situation through working for different ridesharing companies and innovative means like installing a Vugo tablet to accept tips and earn advertising income.
Most importantly, although we agree with some of Abe’s issues. We believe that the independence of ridesharing drivers is severly important to the success of the on-demand transportation industry as a whole. However, because we believe in independence so fiercely, we also respect drivers to make their own decisions to participate or not participate in this weekends events. Just as we believe passengers should be able to make their own decisions regarding tipping their drivers electronically via the Uber application. Most importantly respect your passengers and your fellow drivers this weekend as you should every weekend.
Ways to Improve Your Earnings via Ridesharing
So what can you as a driver do to make more money or keep more of the money you’re already earning?
- Drive smarter. Numerous rideshare driver resources on the Web show clearly that there are better times to drive. Drive at those times, and your income will grow. We recommend using an application like SherpaShare or Hurdlr to improve your driving performance through tracking expenses and income via analytics.
- Drive for another ridesharing company. Uber isn’t the only option out there. Companies such as Lyft are growing and gaining momentum and respect passenger decisions when it comes to typing. According to our best data approximately 1 in 4 Lyft passengers tips their drivers. I try to request a Lyft vehicle when available because I believe in tipping and will use a company that respects it’s passengers decisions over a company that believes I am unqualified to make decisions when it comes to rewarding a rideshare driver for superior service.
- Get political. Harry G. Campbell, known as The Rideshare Guy, recommends contacting your legislators and presidential candidates to have your voice heard. Ridesharing is a hot topic. Help lawmakers and regulators understand what you are going through now, before they determine their stances. Source.
- Use Vugo! Vugo offers you the ability to increase your income. Through the free Vugo app, you can accept tips (which the Uber app does not do) and earn advertising income. The most important thing to remember is that you can control a large part of your ridesharing income. Learn about your options and then pursue those that make the most sense for you.
No matter what your decision as an independent driver; please be respectful of drivers who are uninformed of the strike or those that hold the opposite opinion and are actively supporting Uber. We are all in this together, and violence is never the answer.
Let’s work together to make ridesharing a great way to earn additional income and a safe way to transport passengers while maximizing our own income. Go Vugo!