Another Scam by Uber Drivers (DCA)

Reply

Old May 21, 19, 12:23 am
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Plat Amb
Posts: 11,766
Another Scam by Uber Drivers (DCA)

As detailed here, the drivers collectively go offline

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-...ronized-scheme

Uber and Lyft drivers at Reagan National Airport have been gaming the system "every night, several times a night," by simultaneously turning off their rideshare apps for a minute or two so that the system is tricked into thinking there are no drivers available, thus creating a price surge.

*** "When we find out what the highest surge is, thatís when we say everybody on. And thatís when everybody gets paid what we think we should be getting paid," said the man.
"Itís like we work as a family, like a team together. Like as a team. We do it. Every night. We do it again. We drop off, come back again, itís a routine. We do it to 12 o' clock."
Boraxo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 19, 12:31 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: SJC
Programs: UA Gold, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum, National EE
Posts: 3,552
Unseemly behavior but not quite a scam. The system isn't tricked. If the drivers aren't willing to work for non-surge fares, then those drivers are indeed unavailable.
trooper and WillBarrett_68 like this.
davie355 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 19, 12:37 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: DL Silver, HH Diamond, IHG Plat, BW Diamond
Posts: 25,313
Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Unseemly behavior but not quite a scam. The system isn't tricked. If the drivers aren't willing to work for non-surge fares, then those drivers are indeed unavailable.
Sure seems like a scam to me.

Theyíre switching off their phones to trigger surge pricing. Then jumping on the surge to get 50%+ higher prices.

Iíd guess Uber will react pretty strongly, to avoid bad PR.
Jaimito Cartero is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 19, 12:58 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 181
nygiants242 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 19, 6:49 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 363
I'm all for it. If uber isn't paying them enough they'll stop driving and find something else to do, which would be terrible for me in the long term.
nancypants likes this.
WillBarrett_68 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 19, 7:14 am
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 41,236
Makes no sense unless someone actually has Uber's data handy (and they don't). DCAis chock full of Uber/Lyfts. It would take a coordinated effort by a lot of them to significantly move pricing. There are often as many as 6-7 pickups going on at each of the zones. A couple of drivers won't matter.

Lastly, drivers go into a pool for pickup priority. Shutting off the app puts you at the end of the line when you turn it back on. If the fares are boosted, it is someone who is now ahead of you who gets the benefit.

Sounds to be as though the standard variability, e.g., prices can rise and fall by several dollars across a minute, creates suspicion.
Often1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 19, 2:10 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: SJC
Programs: UA Gold, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum, National EE
Posts: 3,552
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Lastly, drivers go into a pool for pickup priority.
Drivers must be physically in the airport staging area to enter this pool. The article describes drivers in that area coordinating an effort to shut down.
davie355 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 23, 19, 2:19 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
Programs: AS-MVPG75K / HHonors-Diamond / Hyatt - Exploroist
Posts: 1,471
Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
....Then jumping on the surge to get 50%+ higher prices.
FWIW .... that method of paying drivers for surge ended about 2 years ago.
Drivers no longer earn a set percentage of the fare collected by Uber. They earn set per-mile and per-minute rates.
If demand is high, Uber still charges the passenger a higher "surge" rate. If driver supply is also low, then they will add a set amount to the driver's pay.
It is possible (for example) that Uber maybe charging a 20% surge, but adding zero incentive to drivers. As surge gets higher, part of the reason is a lack of drivers in the area so the driver incentives start showing up. They are typically $2 - $5.

Uber spun this to drivers as an advantage. It used to be that if there was a surge going on that drivers would really benefit on long rides, to the point of playing games to get out of short rides.
With the new system, if the incentive is $3, then the driver gets $3 extra regardless if the ride is around the block versus 20 miles.
While that explanation sounds good, the bottom line is that Uber is generally keeping more of the fare on "surge" rides now that "driver payout" is no longer tied to "fare charged". Uber keeping 50+% of the fare is not unusual.
steve64 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 24, 19, 3:29 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 363
Originally Posted by steve64 View Post
FWIW .... that method of paying drivers for surge ended about 2 years ago.
Drivers no longer earn a set percentage of the fare collected by Uber. They earn set per-mile and per-minute rates.
If demand is high, Uber still charges the passenger a higher "surge" rate. If driver supply is also low, then they will add a set amount to the driver's pay.
It is possible (for example) that Uber maybe charging a 20% surge, but adding zero incentive to drivers. As surge gets higher, part of the reason is a lack of drivers in the area so the driver incentives start showing up. They are typically $2 - $5.
Could you give an example where "demand is high" and yet the driver supply is not low? Aren't those just two ways of saying the same thing?
WillBarrett_68 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 25, 19, 6:48 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
Programs: AS-MVPG75K / HHonors-Diamond / Hyatt - Exploroist
Posts: 1,471
Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68 View Post
Could you give an example where "demand is high" and yet the driver supply is not low? Aren't those just two ways of saying the same thing?
For each trip, drivers can see the breakdown of the total amount charged to the passenger.
In "light" surges, I've seen cases where the passenger may have been charged $2 extra, yet there is no extra incentive passed to the driver. Under the old system, the driver would've earned 75% of that $2.

The passenger fare and the driver payout isn't always "supply vs demand". Uber bills itself as a "technology" company, not a transportation service.
They track consumer behavior. They will charge you whatever extra "surge" fare they think they can get away with. Whether or not there's a a driver nearby is irrelevant. The thing that keeps them (and fares) in check is Lyft (who has also separated "driver payout" from "fare collected").
Likewise, they will attempt to satisfy all ride requests with as little driver extra incentive as possible.

That's not to say that supply vs demand doesn't come into play, it simply isn't the only factor. I suspect that as the rate's "surge multiplier" goes higher, there indeed needs to be more and more incentive to get the drivers in location.
But back to the post I was originally replying to .... drivers may very well be "forcing surge", but these days it would be a few dollars and not the 50+% boost that was implied (even though Uber may be charging 50% more).

To be fair ...
Under the new system, there are rides where the driver payout exceeds the fare collected.
From the passenger perspective, what I call "separation of driver payout from fare collected", is known as "upfront pricing". The quote provided before requesting a ride is supposed to be an actual quote (it was originally an estimate, and the final fare charged would be time distance based, just as the driver payout). I know there are many passenger complaints that Uber doesn't stick to the original quote, but that's another topic. If (for example) there was an unexpected traffic jam, the the "time" portion of the driver payout goes up while (in theory) the fare collected remains the same.
steve64 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread