Los Angeles

Think Uber Operates Unethically? How About Illegally.

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If your internet isn’t broken, by this point you’ve heard the endless reports of Uber’s deplorable business tactics, from mistreating their drivers and customers, to devising strategies to silence journalists. We all know that Uber operates unethically. But, as two sources who are Uber drivers have confirmed, there is at least one area in which they are operating outright illegally.

In Florida, Uber drivers aren’t allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. While they can accept calls from passengers located elsewhere, the airports remain in the jurisdiction of the taxi drivers.

This doesn’t stop Uber though. One Uber driver told me, and another confirmed, that Uber drivers in Florida pick up passengers at the airport… and come out and give the passenger a hug, as if they were loved ones picking them up. They pretend to know their client well, so that it appears as if a friend or family member is picking the passenger up from the airport after a trip.

When I heard this, I was shocked, though I shouldn’t have been. It doesn’t seem as if there is much that Uber wouldn’t do to build their corporate revenue — a task at which they have succeeded tremendously. The company is four years old and has an estimated $10 billion gross revenue.

Here’s another secret:  Have you been wondering recently why there is always surge pricing, yet there are so many cars available during surge? I found the answer. Because UberX drivers make so little money on their trips, it’s more cost effective for them to wait until the supply of drivers is so low that surge pricing starts.  Then, they all get in their cars and start answering calls. Essentially, drivers are choosing not to operate during regular pricing times, which creates a shortage of drivers, thereby increasing demand and triggering surge pricing. Once that happens, the amount of drivers skyrockets, because driving is actually worth their time during surge pricing. I don’t blame them.

I have one request of Uber (I have others, but those wouldn’t be granted): put a tip option for UberX drivers.  In LA, the average amount I pay for Uber is $7 per trip. I would love to be able to tip UberX drivers, everyone I know would love to tip them, and it wouldn’t be difficult to implement. If you’re going to break the law, at least let your customers pay your employees.
1. http://pando.com/2014/11/17/the-moment-i-learned-just-how-far-uber-will-go-to-silence-journalists-andattack-women/
2. http://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/uber-executive-suggests-digging-up-dirt-on-journalists
3. http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-revenue-2014-6

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