How Uber Drivers Can Fight Back Against UberPool
UberPool is a feature on UberX where multiple sets of passengers can share the same vehicle. It was first introduced to drivers as a way to make more money by keeping busier and having more passengers in the car. After a few weeks, many drivers noticed that they were making less than they were before, mainly because UberPool rates were lower than that of UberX. The lower rates coupled with additional wait times and longer navigation routes meant that earnings were clearly lower than that of UberX.
In the beginning, you were just paid a flat rate of mileage and time for the entire trip. When you do the math, you will rarely make more than a regular UberX trip, even considering the longer routes and times. However, Uber changed the payment scheme earlier this year where you get separate mileage and time payouts for each customer, so essentially you can earn double or triple the UberPool fares, minus the base rate for the second and subsequent passenger. This helped to bridge the pay gap between what Uber was charging and how much Uber drivers were getting paid.
The change in how Uber drivers are paid helped to bridge the gap in pay, but Uber drivers are still getting paid less than if they got an UberX trip. Here are just a few reasons why Uber drivers are getting paid less for UberPool:
- Short trips – If you pick up two sets of people for a trip about a mile long, it will take much longer for you to complete the trip and the total trip will amount to about $4-$5. My two passenger UberPool trip lasted about 12 minutes and only got paid $4. I had to wait about 2 minutes for the second set of passengers. Below I have a few other trips for comparison in the screen shot. My longest minimum fare UberX trip was 9 minutes and the shortest was 5 minutes. This took 12 minutes so I could’ve made the same amount of money in about 7 minutes, compared to 12.
- Long trips – Drivers can be losing money on longer trips with a match. It is rare that a match happens for the entire long trip so its often you get a match for a short distance, then one of the passengers is taking it long distance. Remember that drivers are paid at a lower rate for each individual passenger so you will get a lower rate for the long trip. Drivers are barely making enough to cover expenses as it is, so these longer trips are putting drivers further into the red financially.
- Uber is now automatically accept UberPool matches
Despite that UberPool is bad for drivers, there are times when Uber Drivers need to take UberPool trips just to earn money. It is a frightening reality but it can be the difference between sitting idle for an hour, or earn a few bucks during that hour. Some drivers have no choice but to accept UberPool requests, but the below tactics may be able to change customer behavior so that everyone gets more UberX trips.
How Uber Drivers Can Fight Back Against UberPool
Every product feature depends on positive experiences by the customer. Any Uber feature depends on the customer having a positive experience with it and if you can disrupt that, then there is a way to shut down UberPool. If you can change the behavior of the customer itself, then there will be less UberPool trips. If you can get passengers to have a negative experience with UberPool, they may tell their friends and then it spreads.
The advice I am giving to fight against UberPool relies on taking advantage of certain features of UberPool. Below are some of the ways:
- Report as No-show after two minutes – for Uberpool, customers only have 2 minutes to get into the car. I have gotten a few of these no-show fees myself. I send a quick text message when I arrive and then another right before the 2 minute timer that I am marking them as a no-show. If you do both of these things, there is little room for the customer to argue to get their cancellation fee back. Remember for the first passenger, you get $4 ($5 minus commission) but you only get $2 for the subsequent passengers. It is definitely the fastest way to earn $4 on Uber. Note that if you get a match before your first pickup and you no-show your first pickup, the entire trip gets cancelled and you get $4 plus $2 for every other subsequent match. You can get up to $8 for waiting 2 minutes.
- Ignore all UberPool Requests – If all drivers ignore Uberpool requests, then these passengers will have a longer ETA, which makes for a negative experience for the passenger. If enough drivers do that, then customers will think twice about using UberPool because of the longer ETA. People who use Uber are typically pressed for time so they may not want to wait another 3-5 minutes for a ride when they can save that time and get an UberX. I ignored an UberPool request across the screen in the morning once. After 5 minutes, a woman walks out. It took another 5 minutes for the car to show up. It seemed as if the driver was either very far away or he refused to pick up the woman since she seemed to be on the phone for quite a while. Remember, if enough people ignore UberPool requests, then passengers will be unlikely to request again just to save a few dollars.
- Refrain from taking special requests during an UberPool ride – some passengers may requests a specific route or to be dropped off at a different location. Unfortunately, UberPool doesn’t allow for that so you will need to consider that when agreeing to special demands. Uber drivers are free to choose the routing but passengers typically do not know that. Pick a route that is best for you, not for them. Remember that you will need to go to stops in the order listed on the Uber app, but you are free to use whatever route you want in order to go there. I wouldn’t purposely drive much longer to get there since passengers can complain and it would be adjusted to the most efficient route. If you are worried about your rating, then comply with the special request. I often don’t and still maintain a 4.86 rating.
- Take a route to ensure an UberPool match – I typically analyze alternate routes with Google Maps and many of the routes are just a few minutes slower. If this ensures you get a match, then you should do that. Just as a note, you probably won’t earn more doing this, but it will take more passengers along with you. There is also a good chance this will annoy your passengers and may cause them to reconsider doing UberPool in the future. Any additional UberPool matches also increases your chance that one of them will not show and add $2 to your trip for waiting 2 minutes.
There are also other ways to ensure you get a cancellation fee, but those tips may go against Uber’s Term of service. Remember that some Uber passengers can’t find your car even if you are in front of them so rely on that fact when thinking of ways to ensure you get a cancellation fee.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course!