Is Uber Screwing Over Its Drivers?

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For those who’ve been wondering, I wanted to let things cool down a bit before I posted anything about Uber’s recent fare cuts.  Some of my worst decisions in life have been made impulsively and if given the opportunity, I think it’s always better to ‘sleep on it’.  And as we all know with the internet, once you write, tweet or post something, it can’t be deleted.

Well, I’ve slept on it long enough and I still can’t help but feel like, as drivers, we’re getting screwed over by Uber right now.  I mean there are only so many times you can handle getting your pay slashed and be expected to go out there on the road and stay positive.  For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months.  And although Uber claims lower fares means higher earnings for drivers, I think we all know by now that statement is bullshit.

Compare declining driver pay with the growth at Uber and the salaries/equity of Uber employees and that will probably make you even madder as a driver.  Uber recently raised another $1.2 billion and is currently valued at just over $40 billion.  My hope has always been that ‘partners’ would see parallel growth, but it appears we’re headed in very different directions.

The Rate Cuts Have Hit Hard

The rate cuts in 48 cities have been tough on drivers and they even hit home last week when rates in the LA/OC area were dropped down to 90 cents/mile.  Over the past two weeks, there has been a lot of anger on social media, driver forums and even my own site (normally a safe haven against this kind of stuff), but I don’t blame those drivers.  It’s human nature to be upset knowing that you have to go out and do the same job that you did last week but for less pay.

Over the past year, we’ve seen fare cuts of up to 50% in cities across the US.  Maybe drivers were paid too much a year ago but the overwhelming sentiment right now is that drivers are not paid enough.  As you guys know, I’m a part-time driver so I have the luxury of scaling back my hours if I’m not making enough, but not everyone is so fortunate.

There are also ‘partners’ who have made life-altering decisions to drive full-time and they are now at the mercy of Uber.  Looking back now, that obviously seems like a poor decision but there was a lot of promise at one point with rideshare and I don’t think anyone ever figured rates could drop this low.  And there are others who just enjoy driving and don’t want to give it all up because Uber won’t pay them a fair wage.

Let’s Dispel The Earnings Myth Once And For All

Uber loves to cite the ‘fact’ that lower fares means higher earnings for drivers.  But as any seasoned driver can tell you, they are now working harder than ever, putting more miles on their car and most definitely making less money.

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Uber seems stuck on the notion that lowering prices increases ridership (thus increasing earnings for drivers) but maybe they should pick up a copy of the book Freakonomics.  I read this book a few years ago and one of the biggest takeaways I got was that just because there is a correlation between two variables that doesn’t mean one necessarily causes the other.  There could easily be a third variable that causes this correlation.

In this case, it is beyond clear to me that lower prices are not the only thing causing increased ridership.  Unlike Uber HQ, I actually get out on the road and drive.  I listen to passengers and I talk to hundreds of other drivers on a weekly basis.  One of the reasons why my site has struck such a cord with drivers is because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.  There is a huge disconnect between drivers and Uber HQ because they don’t know what it’s like to be a driver.  I do.

Do Riders Even Care?

Uber Screenshot Passenger View

A majority of riders actually don’t even know how pricing works half the time.  Here’s a screen shot (to the left) from my phone taken just a few days ago.  There aren’t any prices listed per mile, per minute or even the base fare.

The only way to get this information is to log on to Uber’s website, find your city and then look up the rates manually.  I can guarantee you there aren’t too many riders willing to go through that trouble just to figure out whether their fare is going to be $7 or $8.50.

Lower pricing may have helped increase ridership but it’s definitely not the only reason:

  • Uber gives out free rides to new users like candy to kids on Halloween.  Uber is still giving out $20 free rides to new passengers and who doesn’t like free money?  This referral program has worked very well for them and I know many passengers who have been enticed by this offer.
  • Riders prefer the convenience and superior quality compared to a taxi.  I can’t tell you how many times I used to walk, bike or even make my mom drop me off somewhere because I refused to get into a taxi.  I didn’t even know how to call one.  Now with the click of a button you can have an Uber at your house in less than 5 minutes.
  • Uber has replaced the word taxi in the English language.  I often hear friends say “Let’s get an Uber” even if they are getting a Lyft or a taxi!  There are hundreds of companies popping up that dub themselves “Uber for Mechanics”, “Uber for food delivery”, etc. and all of this usage has clearly played a huge part in Uber’s recent growth.

But Uber Has Data!

Uber is known as the king of data but unfortunately for drivers, the media and the public we don’t get access to any of that information.  In fact, their recent nationwide fare cut was predicated on data from only two cities that showed lower fares meant more income for drivers.

Uber provided us with some nifty graphs for New York a few months ago but this data is beyond useless to me considering that NYC operates nothing like traditional UberX markets.  In NYC, you need a TLC license and they limit the number of UberX partners.  Right now, you can’t even sign up as an UberX driver in NYC.  So the ‘data’ from New York is useless for comparison’s sake.


Uber’s data from Chicago is really the only thing we can trust at this point (and given Uber’s track record I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was some massaging of this data).  I won’t go too in depth into the numbers since there is a great analysis over on Pando by Michael Carney, but their Chicago data showed a 45% increase in demand over the course of one year and an 11% increase in the average driver’s earnings.

11% or $1.79 per hour sounds alright, but Uber’s analysis doesn’t take into account the increased operating costs (and mental strain) that come along with 45% more rides.  That cuts into nearly half of the 11% increase meaning drivers are now working 45% harder and earning $1.09 per hour more than before.  Sounds pretty good for Uber since they get 20% of each ride and a $1 safety fee but no so good for us partners.

My Plan Going Forward

I’m not planning on swearing off Uber completely, but my hope is that every driver out there realizes that Uber doesn’t want to be our friend.  They want to grow.  And unless driver unrest gets in the way of that growth, things will continue to trend downwards.  Over the past couple weeks, we’ve seen the usual social media angst and even a couple protests over the recent fare cuts, but there are still a lot of drivers who need to work (it did not appear as if the protests had much of an effect on driver availability).  They can’t afford to take time off or stop driving, they just have to roll with the punches.

Uber has deflected some of this criticism with their new ‘hourly guarantees’ but there are definitely strings attached.  Guarantees sound great for drivers but it reminds me of a strategy that companies like Walmart used to use: they would come in to a new city and lower prices so everyone would shop there instead of the local businesses.  Then once the competition went out of business, they jack up their prices again.

I feel like Uber’s guarantees are doing just that.  They are a clear attempt to pull drivers away from Lyft (that along with their $500 promotion for Lyft drivers who switch to Uber) and I’m not going to be falling for it.  Despite what some of you may think, competition is a good thing for drivers and I hope that Lyft stays around for good.

Going forward, I’m definitely going to be shifting more of my attention towards Lyft and my hope is that they do not try and lower fares to compete with Uber.  My strategies for driving haven’t really changed, I’ll likely be making less money but I’m still going to do my best to leverage both apps whenever it suits me best.  I have always maintained that I prefer driving for Lyft but I make more money with Uber.  Well now the latter isn’t true anymore so it looks like my decision just became a lot easier.

If you want to see how much money you’ll make driving Lyft vs Uber in your city, I’ve just updated my fare calculation spreadsheet.  You can view it here.

Drivers, what do you think about Uber’s treatment of drivers?  Do you think there are enough drivers who are upset about fare cuts to do something about it?

Update (1/19/2015): Looks like Lyft is reducing fares in certain cities too.

-The Rideshare Guy

This article originally appeared on The Rideshare Guy.


Introducing RideGuru & Prize Giveaway!

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Want to win a $500 Amazon Gift Card and other great TaxiFareFinder swag, like Golf Umbrellas, Beanie Hats, Apparel, and Car Chargers?  Visit and try TFF’s RideGuru, and take the brief survey to enter for your chance to win!




RideGuru is TaxiFareFinder’s newest feature, designed to bring transparency to the taxi and rideshare industry, by estimating and providing fare information for the many available rideshare services. RideGuru lets users see the price of taking a taxi versus using Uber, Lyft, or any other rideshare service that is available in their area. Simply enter in your starting and ending locations and let the RideGuru do all the work.

Please see here for the Official Rules.

Introducing RideGuru – A Rideshare Comparison Calculator

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The TaxiFareFinder team is extremely excited to announce the release of our newest feature, RideGuru, today. The RideGuru is a ground-breaking fare calculator that calculates estimated fares for local taxis and other rideshare services, such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Curb, Hailo, and Flywheel, and it displays all of them side-by-side! Once a user enters their pickup and dropoff locations, the RideGuru will look up the proper rates and car services available in their area within seconds. With a simple user interface in mind, the TaxiFareFinder team created the RideGuru to not only support addresses, but also town/city names, landmark or business names, zip codes and even latitude & longitude! Try out the RideGuru today to learn which rideshare company is the best option for you.

To view the Press Release please click here.


To view a Text Only Press Release please see below.


Ride Guru Offers Side-by-Side Price Comparisons of Taxis, Uber, Lyft and More

Travelers are used to comparing the prices of hotel and flight options before they book. Now, thanks to’s new RideGuru calculator, they will be able to do the same research before hailing a taxi or a car service.

Boston, Massachusetts – January 16, 2015 – TaxiFareFinder unveils the travel industry’s first comprehensive ground transportation comparison calculator today. This new feature, called RideGuru, is an online tool that calculates potential fares for taxis, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Hailo, Flywheel, and Curb. RideGuru provides a free side-by-side comparison of what a ride from point A to point B will cost. If users do not have an exact address, RideGuru supports searching by town/city names, landmarks, business name, zip code, or even latitude and longitude.

In the result, RideGuru offers a list of options and estimated fares for the given route.  It also displays a bar chart to help users compare the pricing faster.  Clicking on any of the options will bring up additional information such as the fare breakdown, potential traffic impacts, and additional notes about the fares and routes.

For those travelers who are unfamiliar with rideshare services and concepts, RideGuru also provides beginner’s guides, tips, and tutorials on its page.

TaxiFareFinder president Ippei Takahashi states: “With an abundance of options crowding the ground transportation market, people need a faster, more comprehensive way to research the cost and conveniences of selecting one car service provider over another. RideGuru is the ground-breaking calculator that will bring more transparency to the taxi and rideshare market.”

City councils and airport commissions around the United States are opening up their cities and drop off zones to alternative car companies giving business travelers and adventure seekers more ways to reach their destinations. These ridesharing services have disrupted the local taxi operators, who have always been subject to state regulations. The newer car services have grown in popularity due to their leveraging of mobile technology that allows customers to request a vehicle to transport them, pay for their ride online, and then rate the quality of the driver and its vehicle.

As more and more of these rideshares and car services are being accepted by city councils, the person-to-person ridesharing options are following suit and riding the coattails of efforts from Uber and Lyft to open up the industry. The increase in the new “sharing economy” began during tough economic times when it was more financially feasible to borrow a car, bike, or a guest bedroom from another consumer than to rent or buy one from a branded supplier. Combined, these two alternative options have shaken up the travel industry’s way of doing business, even more so than travel websites like Expedia and TripAdvisor.

This new comparison calculator will be a priceless feature for those needing to research the cost of a trip before leaving home. TaxiFareFinder is encouraging everyone to try the new RideGuru feature in advance of their travel plans, and is asking for feedback on its accuracy on their website. RideGuru is expected to be the utmost destination for all types of travelers.

About the Company was launched in 2007 to help improve the communication between providers of ground transportation and their customers. The calculator tool is based on a proprietary algorithm that takes into account a multitude of considerations. TaxiFareFinder utilizes up-to-date taxi rates from over 1000 localities, covering thousands of cities. This information is carefully and constantly monitored for its accuracy by their staff and supporters from an active taxi community. TaxiFareFinder also offers tools, such as APIs and WordPress plugin, that enable taxi companies and travel authorities to provide their own fare estimates on their websites or mobile applications. For additional questions or inquiries, please contact through


Animal Taxi Monday 1.12.15

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Triple Decker Animal Taxi! #AnimalTaxiMonday

Click here to view all of our Animal Taxi Monday pictures. Users Can Now Compare Taxi Fares in Multiple Languages

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Free ride service calculator site,, has added additional languages to its site options. Users of the taxi fare comparison website can now research their ground transportation options in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Jan. 8, 2015 (Boston, MA) — ¡Taxi! Táxi! Taxi! Speakers of Spanish, Portuguese and French can now change the user-language on’s free ride comparison website. Whether the user is actually in France, or in another location but preferring to research online in French, they can select their language from a drop down option on the site’s homepage. The newly added functionality is a reflection on the global expansion of the fare calculator’s popularity in more than 60 countries around the world.’s president  Ippei Takahashi states: “When we launched this site in 2007, it was meant to improve communication between taxi drivers and their customers. Adding these additional languages is just one more step toward making communication easier for our users based on which country they are in. Eventually, the goal will be to provide every language for the corresponding country in which our calculator tool is being used.”’s online calculator is the fastest way to research ground transportation costs before traveling. Users enter their starting point and destination on the site, which then estimates how much it will cost for that trip. It also takes into consideration any traffic or inclement conditions which might affect the total cost. The prices are formulated almost instantly and include any car service company’s prices in locations where that services is available. In addition to taxi prices, the site will also display costs from Uber, Lyft, Hailo, Curb and MyTaxi.

Using Google maps, the site builds out the route for the trip, which also includes multiple route suggestions. The user can click through these options to choose which one they prefer. By default, the site will display the cheapest possible option. TaxiFareFinder uses up-to-date taxi rates from over 600 localities, covering thousands of cities. This information is carefully and constantly monitored for its accuracy by its staff and supporters from an active taxi community.


About the Company was launched in 2007 to help improve the communication between providers of ground transportation and their customers. The calculator tool is based on a proprietary algorithm that takes into account a multitude of considerations. TaxiFareFinder utilizes up-to-date taxi rates from over 600 localities, covering thousands of cities. This information is carefully and constantly monitored for its accuracy by our staff and supporters from our active taxi community. TaxiFareFinder also offers tools, such as an API and WordPress plugin, that enable taxi companies and travel authorities to provide their own fare estimates on their websites or mobile applications. For additional questions or inquiries, please contact us here: or visit

Animal Taxi Monday 1.5.15

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Aw! Happy Animal Taxi Monday from the TFF Team!

Click here to view all of our Animal Taxi Monday pictures.