How Drivers are Gaming Uber and Lyft to Charge You More

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. @ Gary — Last month when we were in DC, I wondered why the uber fare was so much higher than normal. Next time, we will take Metro from the airport. Thanks for sharing this. Publicity about this is the best way to get back at these drivers. I also imagine this can’t be too hard for uber to address via its software. They could just end the surge pricing at DCA when X number of drivers log off.

  2. @ Gary — Better yet, when the drivers all log off simultaneously, uber/Lyft should cut the prices in half.

  3. @Gene – I like the way you think, although the software (ML) solution is probably much harder in practice.

  4. Not trying to hate on anyone making a living from Uber/Lyft but here is the deal- you are not hurting Uber/Lyft, you are hurting us, the travelers. If they aren’t paying you enough, DONT DRIVE FOR THEM! You aren’t an employee, you can leave anytime you like. If enough people just stop driving, they will rethink their compensation plans.

  5. These drivers are smart, I like it. It’s the tech revolution’s version of a union.

    Us Americans are the kings of double standards. On the one one hand, we like to complain about declining wages and blah blah blah, and on the other, we bemoan actually paying for the things we use. The two go hand in hand.

    Just remember, we can always take a cab for the regulated price of ~$2.10/mile, a couple bucks for airport pickup fee, and a few more $ for flag fare. If the organized rideshare drivers drive the price too high, regulated-fare cabs are the fall back. There still is competition in our nation’s capital.

    While nobody is holding a gun to these guys’ heads, I sympathize. Uber drew them in a few years ago with higher compensation, and incentivized them to quit whatever else they were doing or whatever. And after they signed up? Compensation cut after compensation cut. That’s disingenuous; I certainly don’t go to work expecting to make less tomorrow than I did last year.

  6. Very interesting expose. With the construction at DCA, it’s a real mosh pit for ride-share pick-ups and I’ve decided just to go with a taxi home. To get to National, I’ll take an Uber till I use my monthly AmEx credit then Lyfts – isn’t there a new Lyft tie in?

    On the other hand, I’m willing to pay a price for goods and services for everyone to have a living wage – see our support for the Hawaiian hotel workers Unite Local Five while we were staying at the Westin – donated to the strike fund and insisted on a room rate reduction – got a third off the rate.

    Workers of the World, Unite! Union Strong!

  7. “These drivers are smart, I like it. It’s the tech revolution’s version of a union.

    “Us Americans are the kings of double standards. On the one one hand, we like to complain about declining wages and blah blah blah, and on the other, we bemoan actually paying for the things we use. The two go hand in hand.”

    Agreed. Uber (and to a lesser extent Lyft) systematically chipped away at their drivers’ ability to earn a living wage. Their IPOs tanked for good reason.

    Would be good to see a bit more sympathy for the working folks here rather than just the millennial whinging about the class of hard-working folks who drive them around for low wages.

    Take a taxi or public transportation if you don’t like the crap you have to deal with Uber and Lyft. And guess what? Your taxi driver won’t rate you and moreover if you don’t wanna talk you can actually tell the driver you don’t wanna talk rather than selecting a stupid feature on a stupid app to tell the driver you aren’t feeling chatty.

  8. are these drivers being held at gunpoint to be a Lyft driver ?if they don’t like what they’re getting paid why don’t they look for another job ?no one is forcing them to work for Lyft

  9. @Dean

    No, but it’s disingenuous to hire people at one rate of compensation, and then continue to lower it. My job doesn’t do that to me. Of the companies I know that do cut pay, they mostly do it as a cut for new employees, where “if you don’t like it, don’t take job” is an easier pill to swallow.

    I really am not liking this business model.

  10. Yeah, this “you aren’t Uber employees you can walk away any time is such a ridiculous argument. Those drivers have mouths to feed, and most don’t come from privileged backgrounds or are lucky enough to take flights followed by ubers. It’s precisely this attitude that normalises that stupid quiet mode on Uber.
    Because it’s soooo inconvenient to speak to the help.

  11. @747always quiet mode is for UberBLACK only and I think you can understand why female passengers might be uncomfortable being chatted up by male drivers.

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