Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What We All Want to Say to Uber but Don't

This post is directed to my friends who are ride-share drivers:  to all who have been put-off, irritated or frustrated by the ineptitude of Uber and Lyft.

Monday night was particularly annoying for me. I got a lot of attitude from my passengers, and then I got "safety'd" by an Uber passenger for allegedly speeding. To properly set the stage, I don't speed. But I'm not perfect. I have rolled into speed traps twice and been cited purely for not knowing the speed limit in the area, and being ignorant of the military-grade speed camera installation waiting like a predator.

There are a number of things I do to maintain safe driving in all situations. These include:  watching my speed in the apps, both the Uber native app and Waze show your speed. Waze is a little better because it shows the speed limit and your actual speed at any time when the app is open, whereas the Uber app only shows the speed limit when you are on a trip and only shows your actual speed when you exceed the speed limit. 

When I got home, I received an email informing me of the complaint. I'd like to share the ensuing discourse, and point out the absurdity of Uber and Lyft.

A message from Uber
Hi Chris, 
One of your riders let us know that they felt uncomfortable with your driving speed and traffic maneuvers on a recent trip. 
We wanted to share this feedback with you and emphasize the importance of safe driving while using the Driver App. As explained in our Community Guidelines, serious or repeated claims of poor, unsafe, or distracted driving can result in permanent deactivation of a partner’s account. 
We appreciate your understanding. 
Sent by Ronalyn on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 11:09:17 AM

[My Response]

Hi Ronalyn,

In order for me to comment on a rider’s experience, I would need to know the following:

1. Name of Rider and Name of passenger (if different than requestor)
2. Date and time of trip
3. Pick-up Location
4. Drop-off Location
5. Length of trip
6. Fare
7. Relationship Status (just kidding)

I strive for a positive experience on every ride, however I cannot respond to vague allegations.

Thank you,


A message from Uber 
Thanks for writing back to us, Chris.
We understand your concern and we really want to help you further. However, in accordance to our Privacy Policy, we are unable to disclose any information. 
Please know that this feedback isn't designed to be accusatory in nature. Whenever we receive feedback from our partner or rider, we always make sure to reach out to the other party to hear both sides. 
In this case, we just wanted to let you know what was reported and we really appreciate you for your effort in providing safe and comfortable trips to your riders. 
Thanks for your time and understanding. If we can help with anything else, don't hesitate to reach out. 
Sent by Mjarinella on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 4:06:33 PM

[My Response]

So…what you’re saying is that you received a random complaint from an unspecific rider who made a baseless, unconfirmed allegation relating to an unspecific ride on an unspecific date and time, and you expect me to comment on this extremely vague situation? 

Is this for real? I’m a full-time Uber/Lyft driver. I make around 25-40 trips a night. How could you possibly expect me to provide you with any kind of coherent detail from any one of those rides without first being provided a little background information?

Is this a standard Uber policy? You allege some kind of incident without providing any substantial details and ask the driver to comment? Does anyone ever ACTUALLY comment, or admit to any wrongdoing?

I’d like to further expand on my position:  

We drivers out here every day and night taking ALL THE RISK! I personally know people who have been attacked, threatened, harassed, had their vehicles totaled by some reckless Portland driver, and I personally have been put into some very uncomfortable situations. You provide us with an app and a pair of stickers, nothing more, and you take a large chunk of our pay. And every six months, you come up with another way of reducing our cut while trying to convince us that "less" is somehow "more." You build bogus features into your app like "You're in a busy area, expect trips soon," that shows up anywhere and everywhere we go, regardless of time and geography. Who do you think you’re fooling? Your 24/7 support is overseas in a country that probably doesn't even have Uber, and although they speak perfect English, and are very polite and pleasant to talk to, I cannot say that I have ever been convinced that they actually comprehend what I am talking about. It's as if they're reading off a script. And whenever there's a complaint, you send us the same vague, canned message asking us what happened, but not providing any details about the trip nor rider. As if I do only one trip a night. Do you really think I'm going to confess to some vague allegation? Do you think I'm stupid enough to hang myself without knowing the full nature of the complaint?

These are not simply MY concerns. These are an amalgamation of concerns from many drivers. If you are really concerned about customer service and safety, then you’ll update your privacy policy to allow an open dialogue to resolve issues and conflicts in a logical manner. 

At this time, I’m going to formally request that any concerns a rider my have be provided to me in a manner consistent with a normal, productive conflict resolution process. At that point, only, will I be able to provide you with a reasonable explanation of events and work toward resolving the issue.

Thank you,

Chris Hirsch

[Final Message From Uber]

A message from Uber 
I'm sorry to hear about the frustration caused by the feedback, Chris.
We understand that the information about the feedback is important to you. All feedback between riders and driver-partners is kept anonymous according to Uber's Privacy Policy. 
We just want to inform you of the feedback we've received. It has been reported that there may be an issue with your driving as you were overspeeding on one of your trips. There are some instances that these types of notices occur, please know that we do not just always listen on rider's side. With that said, we want to make it clear that this is not an accusation. 
We just want to remind you of our Community Guidelines. At this time, no further action will be taken with regards to your account status or ability to use the app.
We're currently taking steps to provide tips with riders on what is socially acceptable conduct during Uber trips, and we have used your feedback in that regard. 
Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Sent by Chai on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 0:10:28 AM

In my opinion, this final message is an admission that their system is bullshit. I don't know who would willingly offer information on any trip, but let this stand as a suggestion that you should not provide any information or admit to any kind of guilt, unless of course it is some kind of formal investigation.