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Does Uber Hear Drivers Concerns?

Updated: Apr 7

Ubereats screenshot
Does Uber really want honest feedback from drivers?

Let’s start with the ubiquitous “1/10th mile ping.” You know, that ping you get that covers the street address as you make that final turn, looking for the house number? It took me a while but then I figured out they do that on purpose. Of course I was incredulous when I realized it. It's as distracting as it is ill conceived. Which begs a bigger question. Does Uber hear drivers concerns?

I’m stabbing at the phone with my index finger multiple times while trying to dodge potholes, curbs, and street parked vehicles trying to get my destination address back and sometimes the app freezes. Most times I have to stop the vehicle, close and reopen the app, which then throws the same offer - or a new one to me before I can see the address. Often I hit the pause button which then creates yet another unnecessary step I have to go through to complete a delivery.

But you may say that I could just hit the pause button at the beginning of the drive. The point is, I shouldn’t have too. Not if you truly mean that you’re trying to make it better for me. This is a poorly thought out alert. It is setup not with driver safety in mind, but with company need a priority. I’m all about making the money, just not at the expense of my wits, my bumper, or worse. But go ahead and virtue signal me about texting and driving.

I can spot a gig driver by the duct tape they're using to keep their bumper in place…caused by the 1/10 mile offer - no doubt. I've complained about this for seven years, but they’d rather seek the solution to my being sexually harassed by a Baconator than solve a real problem.

Grubhub screenshot
A policy for drivers that aren't employees.

Now I get it. Harassment and discrimination are real things. And here’s another real thing - I'm pretty much immune to them as a contract worker. If you’re a driver you're immune too. How are we immune? We don’t work at the restaurant and we don’t have to go back if we feel uncomfortable. Same with the customer. Problem solved.

Fact is - I am more apt to be harassed by the Uber or Grubhub app than I am by an employee at a restaurant that I’m picking up from or a customer I’m delivering to. How can we be harassed by an app? Read on.

When gigs don’t fix issues on their apps that are irritating, time consuming, unnecessary, redundant, or - like the tenth mile ping, dangerous - the app is harassing to the driver. I spend ninety percent of my time in my car…on the app. It would make sense to fix that which makes my job harder than some legal bureaucratic nonsense that I can dispel in an instant with the touch of a finger.

funny meme
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

As an independent contractor I shun the bureaucratic rigors of the workplace. That’s one of the reasons I do the job I do. I hate corporate ineptness and governmental regulation. I avoid these at all costs. My guess is that other drivers do also. It is the very nature of our work as indicated by the “independent” in the job title.

Ubereats screen shoot
Does this app come with instructions?

There are few training videos much less OJT or real people to train you for the job. To add degrees of difficulty, Uber is constantly “updating” their system thereby updating confusion amongst offers. They can’t be satisfied with a uniform offering system that offers fewer distractions thus emphasizing safety. Lip service to safety seems to be the preferred approach.

This image of an Uber Eats offer shows where and in what order my eyes go to make a few seconds decision on whether or not to except it. I have approached the last tenth of a mile on my current order and the address of it has disappeared until I accept or decline this order. Keep in mind that my acceptance rate is based on several factors of which this is one.

Grubhub screenshot
Grubhub obviously is not immune from app issues.

Grubhub has its own Hold My Beer moments in its app as well. In this little screenshot gem Grubhub can’t decide what has just happened. It’s just more technical icing on the proverbial cake delivered by gigs that don’t fix their past issues but are ready to seek out new ones.

And don’t get me started on the customers app that asks the customer if they want it delivered to “my location” which invites a whole new issue of pick a card type rationale. GPS doesn’t know what apartment number you’re in and it doesn’t know what your house number is, so it just picks out a street address. This, of course, affects your time, adds an unnecessary degree of difficulty to the job and impacts the drivers money.

These have been ongoing issues for years. The gig companies know this but they’re still asking drivers to identify opportunities to be fixed.

ubereats takes money from it’s drivers at their whim
Maybe fix issues like not paying drivers what you said..

Then there is the coup de grâce of driver issues. I call it the Big Steal or the Big Dip. I address this much more in a different post but suffice it to say that something at best is disingenuous of this practice.

Here’s the ruse. Uber makes you an offer, usually in the form of a batched delivery (meaning more than one delivery in an offer). It’s usually one good tipping order with another one or more that don’t tip well in order to get the non tipping orders delivered.

After the driver completes his end of this implied agreement, Uber reneges and reiterates its policy of offering you an “estimated” amount that you agreed to as terms of acceptance of that offer. See the screen shot. I was told I would get $11.24 for this trip and after completing it I was paid $3.24. When I contacted support I was reminded of what a trusting sucker I was because I fell for the “estimated” line.

I find it mildly ironic that while addressing an issue I had with a canceled order years ago, they deemed my actions then "possibly fraudulent." Pot, meet kettle.

Just a thought, but if these gig companies want to show drivers they care - how about fixing real issues that exist instead of creating new ones they'll likely ignore.. If a company creates forums and committees based on transparency and trust shouldn’t they be transparent and capable of trust? Maybe deliver on best practices you evangelize and show us all what that looks like before biting off more than you can chew.

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