Many Uber, Lyft Drivers Are Underinsured

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The rideshare industry has expanded at a fast pace since its debut in 2012. Last year, Uber executives estimated their drivers were providing 2 million rides a day worldwide. In the U.S., the growth has been so rapid that, when it comes to insurance, the nation’s regulators, insurers and drivers are all struggling to catch up.

A new survey found that many rideshare drivers may not have enough auto insurance coverage to fully protect themselves, and that they also don’t understand the risks involved. This raises implications not only for drivers, but also for the riders who use services like Uber and Lyft every day.

Rideshare insurance is complex and constantly evolving. Companies that provide rideshare services offer insurance protection for drivers during specific periods, but that protection drops considerably at other times. Generally, when drivers are waiting for a call, they are only fully protected if they are covered under certain personal rideshare insurance policies, and that coverage isn’t available in every state or from every insurer.

Personal insurance policies may fall short

Relying on one’s personal insurance policy may not be enough. Some carriers’ personal policies don’t cover vehicles being used to transport passengers for a fee, and some may even cancel a driver’s coverage if he is involved in an accident while driving for a rideshare — particularly if the driver has not informed the insurance company that the car is being used for rideshare driving.

Passengers are mostly covered in case of an accident, but there may be gaps there, too. Both Uber and Lyft offer $1 million in coverage when passengers are in a rideshare car. In serious accidents, where injuries and damage can exceed $1 million, it gets more complicated. Riders can make a claim against the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance, if available, or file a personal injury lawsuit against the rideshare company, but only in some states and under certain circumstances.

In an effort to examine how many rideshare drivers are paying for additional coverage, NerdWallet worked with SherpaShare, which provides an app that helps 50,000 rideshare drivers track mileage, earnings and expenses. The insurance coverage survey of 1,022 SherpaShare users across the U.S., conducted Jan. 26-Feb. 9, 2016, via the app and company blog, found that the majority of respondents may be underinsured, at least some of the time.

Key takeaways

Many drivers don’t have extra coverage. 77% of respondents said they didn’t have additional rideshare insurance coverage on top of what their company provided, which puts them at risk while they are working, but waiting for a call.

Cost is a concern. Of the drivers who don’t have extra coverage, 32% cited cost as the reason.

Drivers may underestimate their risks. Of those who went without additional coverage, 31% said they’re comfortable with what their rideshare company provides, but 4% stated that they lacked an understanding about the issue.

Laws make a difference. The drivers with additional coverage, 43% of respondents, said they got it to comply with local laws.

Rideshare drivers are looking to add coverage. In the survey, 40% of drivers without additional coverage said they plan to purchase it in the next three months.

Most drivers lack coverage

Rideshare insurance varies depending on whether there’s a passenger in the car or if the driver is waiting for or going to a call. Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage when passengers are in the car, which is known as Period 3 coverage. When the driver is en route to a call, drivers are covered by Period 2 insurance. But both companies provide only limited coverage, called Period 1, when drivers are logged into their apps and waiting for a fare.

With 77% of drivers in the SherpaShare survey saying that they haven’t purchased additional coverage, there is a large group of drivers who are at risk should they be involved in an accident while waiting for a call.

What rideshare companies provide

Uber and Lyft provide at least $1 million per accident in liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage during periods 2 and 3. They also offer limited collision and comprehensive coverage, but only to drivers who already have this personal coverage on their vehicles.

But when drivers are waiting for a fare, in Period 1, their primary coverage is provided by the personal or commercial coverage they’ve purchased. Rideshare company policies only kick in to cover liability or damage not covered by the driver’s own insurance.

The liability limits in Period 1 are $50,000 per person for injuries, capped at $100,000 per accident total, and $25,000 in property damage for each accident. And there is no coverage provided for damage to the rideshare vehicle. Of the SherpaShare survey respondents who didn’t have additional rideshare insurance policies, 31% said they were comfortable with the coverage provided by the rideshare companies.

It could be that these drivers don’t mind taking on the risk, or they may not understand those risks. Although it wasn’t a selection in the multiple choice survey, 4% of those who don’t have additional coverage left comments indicating they didn’t understand their options and/or the issue.

Drivers pick minimal coverage

Twenty-three percent of surveyed drivers had purchased additional insurance coverage. Of the women who responded, 27% opted for an additional policy, while 21% of men did.

Rideshare drivers generally have three insurance options:

Rideshare-friendly policy. Of the drivers with additional coverage, 36% have rideshare-friendly policies that don’t provide additional coverage, but mean the insurer won’t cancel coverage on a rideshare driver.

Period 1 policy. Those with additional insurance, 31%, have a Period 1 policy. The policies, which cover drivers when they aren’t on a call, but are waiting for one, specifically fill the gap left by rideshare company coverage.

Commercial rideshare policy. In the SherpaShare survey, 24% of drivers who have extra coverage have commercial rideshare policies. These policies, which are the most comprehensive available, provide coverage at all times. For periods 2 and 3, this policy provides extra coverage should an accident exceed the rideshare company’s policy limits.

Additional coverage costs more

The survey found that 32% of surveyed drivers said cost was a factor in going without additional coverage.

Not all insurance carriers offer rideshare policies, and those that do may offer them only in certain states. But such policies are increasingly common and affordable. Costs vary by driver, policy, carrier and location, but a rideshare driver could pay an additional $20 a month or less for Period 1 coverage on top of an existing personal policy. Commercial policies are more expensive, but some carriers are offering more affordable commercial coverage for rideshare drivers.

Coverage and laws in flux

The ridesharing industry is relatively new, and insurers and lawmakers are just catching up with products to cover the risk. By the end of 2015, 29 states and Washington, D.C., had enacted laws to close insurance coverage gaps, according to Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

These laws require action by ridesharing companies, which have had to increase coverage amounts in some areas; and by insurance carriers, which have had to expand or adjust policy offerings. The new laws also require that drivers take out additional insurance or understand the risks involved when declining coverage.

In the survey, 43% of drivers with additional rideshare insurance purchased that coverage to comply with such laws.

California’s 2014 rideshare law, for example, requires drivers to have liability insurance during all three periods, and rideshare companies to provide $1 million in liability coverage during periods 2 and 3.

Other states including Colorado, Georgia, Maryland and Washington as well as Washington, D.C., have similar laws designed to close rideshare coverage gaps. Minnesota requires rideshare companies to provide $1.5 million in coverage during periods 2 and 3. Some cities have additional requirements. For example, New York City requires rideshare drivers to have commercial coverage.

These laws have prompted Uber and Lyft to supply more generous coverage — sometimes location-specific — and have pushed insurance carriers to create new offerings and policies.

Many states are still working on legislation, and it’s possible these laws and new opportunities to buy policies could push more rideshare drivers to seek out extra coverage.

Meanwhile, drivers as well as passengers should understand their rights and risks when using ridesharing services. Uber’s terms of service denies any liability if a passenger is injured and requires binding arbitration if there’s a dispute. The company also recently changed its contract with drivers to require arbitration of disputes. So it’s important to keep in mind that the ridesharing economy is a risk-sharing one as well.

Elizabeth Renter is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter:@ElizabethRenter.

Infographic by Michael Belen.

2016 Survey Results: How Satisfied Are Uber Drivers Really?

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How satisfied are Uber drivers? This question seems to be floating around the web a lot lately and our team at TaxiFareFinder was curious to find some truthful answers! As it turns out, one of our good friends, Harry Campbell (The Rideshare Guy), was also curious to learn some answers about driver satisfaction and morale and created a survey for his network of drivers. After receiving 453 responses, his team put together a fascinating report depicting Uber drivers and how they really feel. Check out the findings below!


Every year I send out a survey to all of my drivers here on RSG.  Honestly, I’m not a big fan of filling out surveys myself, but it is a great way to get feedback from my readers and confirm trends that I’ve been seeing in the on-demand economy.

So to everyone who filled out a 2016 survey, thank you!  We sent the survey to 10,234 e-mail subscribers and got 453 responses, which is awesome, and I’ll be sending out some RSG swag to 10 lucky winners.  Scroll down to the bottom to see if you were randomly selected. I’ll also be contacting you by e-mail.

This year’s survey had some really interesting results and I’m also getting better at asking interesting questions.  So if you’re a company or start-up interested in going over the results with me or one of my staff members, please e-mail me.

For everyone else, hope you enjoy!

2016 Survey Results: Getting Started With Driving

How long have you been a driver for?

According to Uber’s own numbers, half of all drivers quit after just one year.  I was surprised to see that only 17.4% of my audience has only been driving for 0-3 months, which tells me that although there are a lot of new drivers out there, they aren’t finding the online resources like my site, rideshare Facebook groups and forums.

This also speaks to the challenges of organizing drivers since there are so many new drivers who really only talk to Uber and don’t know how to get in contact with their fellow workers.

A little quick math: If Uber currently has 400,000 drivers and half are quitting after one year, that means they need to replace about 17,000 drivers each month (200,000 drivers/12 months).  And if they’re growing at a monthly rate of 10.6% (they announced 162,000 drivers on 1/22/15 and 400,000 drivers on 11/3/15 – active drivers are defined in both cases by having taken at least four trips in a single month), that means they need to hire 42,000 new drivers each month.

So in order to replace the drivers that are quitting AND sustain growth, Uber needs to hire about about 59,000 drivers in total every single month.  Wow!

Where did you first hear about driving:delivering?

If you’re wondering where Uber finds all of those new drivers, this chart gives a good glimpse into that.  I’ve talked before about Uber’s main marketing channels and although I’ve always known they pumped a lot of money into their referral program, I was surprised to see that so many people ‘heard from a friend’ about driving for Uber.

Not all of these word of mouth referrals are paid referrals, but it’s impressive to see just how important the network effect is when recruiting on the supply side.  Basically by having such a large passenger base, this also helps recruiting efforts.  This is also why a lot of the smaller to mid tier ‘Uber for X’ companies have such a hard time recruiting new drivers (and they don’t have as much $$ obviously).

If you’re curious about some of the ‘other’ responses you can view those here.  The only major category I missed was Facebook ads, which is basically the same type of paid marketing as Google Ads.

Who’s Driving For Uber And Why?

Which rideshare:delivery company do you PRIMARILY drive for?Which on-demand service do you PREFER to drive for? I’ve commented many times before that most drivers prefer driving for Lyft, but they get more rides and make more money with Uber.  I think these two charts prove that pretty clearly.  Even though an overwhelming majority of drivers are primarily working for Uber and thus making more money with Uber, an equal number of them prefer Lyft to Uber.

Lyft is often mentioned in the same breath as Uber, but outside of a few select cities like SF and Austin (where Lyft claims 40% and 45% market share respectively), they don’t offer much in the way of passenger demand.  Drivers in small to mid tier Lyft markets often wait 30 minutes+ for rides and ETAs can be as high as 20-30 minutes.

But Lyft has done a great job cultivating a special relationship with drivers.  I’m not saying they’re perfect (ahem $1,000 driver bonus snafu), but when their president e-mails drivers after fare cuts to explain why Lyft had to cut fares, that says something.

Lyft has always been on the forefront of driver friendly features, but there just hasn’t been enough demand to make it a viable main option for drivers.  Imagine how many more drivers would prefer Lyft over Uber if they actually made the same amount of money as they did driving for Uber!

Who’s Doing Most Of The Work?

How many hours per week do you work on average?

Uber has obviously been in the news a lot about its controversial tactic of treating drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.  In response to the current lawsuit they’re facing in California, even Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick has stated that Uber is best suited as a way “to fill in the gaps”, implying that employee status would not make sense for a bulk of their drivers.

Their recently released survey confirms that 50% of drivers are driving 10 hours a week or less on average.  Uber is clearly presenting driving as a secondary gig and some (Harris & Kreuger) have even called for a third class of worker since your average Uber driver doesn’t fit into the traditional employee/independent contractor boxes.  But the problem with these assessments is that they don’t take into account who’s actually doing a majority of the work.

Based off the numbers collected in our survey, we calculated that 50% of drivers are working 20 hours a week or less, but they only account for a total of 24% of the actual hours worked out on the road.  This is similar to the phenomenon we see with Airbnb ‘super hosts’ that bring in a majority of income for Airbnb with hotel style listings as opposed to private rooms or individual listings.

If you take the mid-point of hours worked (i.e. 5 hours for 0-10) for drivers in our survey and multiply it by the number of drivers you get a rough approximation of each group’s contribution to the total hours worked.

Hours Per Week # Of Drivers % Of Total
% Of All
Hours Worked
0-10 85 19% 4%
11-20 139 31% 20%
21-30 107 24% 26%
31-40 57 13% 19%
40+ 65 14% 31%

You can see pretty clearly that a majority of the work is not being done by the 0-10 or even 10-20 hours per week crowd.

This poses several questions:

  • Which group of drivers (part-timers who make up a larger % of the workforce but do less of the work OR full-timers who make up a smaller % of the workforce but do most of the work) should be given more weight when it comes to policy discussion?
  • Should a third class of worker be created for a group of workers (0-20 hours per week) that only make up 24% of all hours worked on the platform?
  • If 30+hrs/week is considered full-time, that means half of Uber’s drivers could actually be more closely associated with employee designation than the independent contractor designation based off hours worked.

Another analysis performed on Uber’s data from January of 2015 came to a similar conclusion.

Why Do Drivers Drive?

What's the most important thing to you as an on demand worker?

Uber touts the flexibility of driving for Uber all the time and it’s actually one of the points that I’ve always agreed with them on.  I don’t think most people realize just how flexible being a driver is.  I can literally turn the app on right now and get a request within 10 minutes and be making money.

Companies like Active Hours (affiliate link) even allow you to cash out your Uber earnings the same day.  So you could go out and drive a full day whenever you want and have the money in your bank account by that night.  That’s pretty damn flexible!

Satisfaction With Driving

Overall, I am satisfied with my experience driving for UBER.

When Uber announced in December that their drivers were happier than ever, I was pretty skeptical.  It didn’t pass the smell test for two reasons.

  1. Drivers are now making less than ever because of fare cuts, so even if Uber replaced their entire workforce, how could drivers who now make less money be happier?
  2. Uber has actually gotten less flexible over the past year since they now institute policies like guaranteed hourly earnings which require drivers to work certain times and accept certain percentages of fares.  If drivers care so much about flexibility, wouldn’t less flexibility mean less happiness?

Uber’s survey actually found that 81% of polled drivers said they were satisfied with the overall experience of driving for Uber — up from 78% the previous year.  Uber polled an unknown number of drivers (and received 833 responses) from 24 of Uber’s largest markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

My survey was sent to 10,234 drivers and of the 453 driver responses, only 48.4% of drivers somewhat agreed or strongly agreed (my top markets also included Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City).  So I think my skepticism of Uber’s survey was valid.  I’d be curious to know exactly how Uber picked it’s sample size for this survey and what questions they asked (both of which were withheld from me at least).


About Harry Campbell, The RideShare Guy

Hello TFF Readers, my name is Harry Campbell and I run a blog for rideshare drivers called The Rideshare Guy and I also write about the on demand economy for Forbes.  I’ll be sharing articles from time to time on what’s going on in the world of rideshare and what you need to know as a passenger whether you enjoy taxis, rideshare or all of the above!

Lyft Partners with Google’s Waze

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If you are an Uber driver or rider than you are most likely aware that the Uber GPS capabilities are frankly, no good. Uber’s in app GPS has long been a point of tension for Uber drivers, causing many drivers to ditch the app’s GPS completely and use their own source of navigation. Surprisingly, Uber has yet to make any big efforts to integrate a better routing application for their drivers.

Lyft, however, saw Uber’s misstep as a way to gain some ground on the rideshare giant and announced on Tuesday that they are joining forces with Google’s Waze to improve their in-app navigation and to help drivers avoid traffic congestion. By integrating Waze, drivers will also be able to improve the efficiency of both rider pick-ups and drop-offs by updating their routes in real time based on traffic, accidents, and other contributing factors.

According to The Verge, “Drivers will be able to switch seamlessly back and forth between Lyft and Waze using a new “Return to Lyft” button. And to help keep their customer ratings high through more efficient trips, Lyft says that Waze, which uses crowdsourcing data to reduce traffic and improve routing, will now be the default navigation tool for all of its drivers.”

Lyft is the first and currently the only rideshare company to use Waze’s technology. If Uber wants to keep their drivers happy they may have no choice but to follow suit!

Lyft Lowers Prices in these 33 Cities

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Last week the internet was abuzz with the news that Uber had lowered their fares in over 100 cities. Passengers were happy, drivers were upset, and Uber hoped everything would work out in their favor. However, Lyft wasn’t going to sit back and let Uber win this battle without a fight and in a typical “anything you can do, I can do better” move, Lyft announced that they were going to lower prices as well in 33 cities.

Lyft announced their big price drop in a blog post stating , “Many people make New Year’s resolutions to save money, work out more, and eat out less. We don’t want that to leave you standing out in the cold, though — we think that with these lower prices, Lyft can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. During the new year — and all year long — affordability matters. We always want to be the most affordable option to get where you’re going. Lowering prices during a seasonally slow time, like the cold winter months, helps us make sure you can always get safe, affordable rides wherever you’re going.” The new prices were said to take effect on January 15th.

Unlike Uber, Lyft insists that despite the price cuts they will still continue to maintain their position as the most generous of Rideshare employers. In a statement to Re/code, Lyft made it known that their company pays drivers more than any comparable service, and that drivers average hourly earnings increased 13 percent in 2015! It seems like Lyft’s kinder disposition towards their drivers is working in their favor as Lyft drivers haven’t yet started attacking the company for cutting into their wages.   Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the relationship between Uber and their drivers.

Full List of Affected Lyft Cities

  • Bakersfield, California
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Fresno, California
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Modesto, California
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Orange County, California
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Bernardino, California
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Jose/Silicon Valley, California
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Sonoma/Napa Counties, California
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Washington, D.C.



Should Uber Be Doing More To Protect Its Drivers?

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A few weekends ago, an Orange County Uber driver named Edward Caban released a now viral video on Youtube that depicted a scary confrontation between himself and his passenger, Benjamin Golden.  In a little less than a week, the video has garnered over 2 million views and raised serious questions about driver safety.

The video itself depicts a drunk Golden, unable to sit up straight or give directions to the driver, turn violent when Caban demands that he exit the vehicle.  The video was recorded by the driver’s dash cam and it ends with the intoxicated Golden being pepper sprayed by Caban.

Golden was arrested at the scene and his charges were upgraded the day after to four misdemeanors according to the Orange County DA’s office.  He was also fired from his position as a Taco Bell executive and will likely have trouble finding work for the rest of his life.

For Uber drivers across the country, the first couple minutes of this video were nothing out of the ordinary.  We’ve all had passengers who were too drunk to enter their destination or unable to give accurate directions, but rarely have things turned violent.

In fact, with over 1 million trips per day, most of the newsworthy incidents regarding Uber usually have to do with passenger safety.  Recently, an Uber driver in India was sentenced to life in prison for raping a female passenger and there are countless other horror stories in which drivers are most often the perpetrators.  But this is one of the first well publicized cases we’ve seen where the driver was actually the victim instead of the passenger.

Was It Just A Matter Of Time?

Drivers have been dealing with drunk passengers since Uber’s early days and it’s common knowledge that the ‘Party Hours’, typically Friday and Saturday evenings, are when it’s busiest but also when you get the highest number of intoxicated passengers.

I like to tell drivers on my site, that a good beginner strategy is to just ‘Follow The Alcohol’ since even Uber promotes its platform as the safer alternative to drinking and driving.  And it’s no different on holiday weekends like Halloween when this incident occurred.

Here’s a chart that Uber sent to my driver account a few days before Halloween weekend.

Uber Peak Demand Halloween Night

You can see from the chart above that demand is at its highest when people have had a full night of drinking and partying and are just about ready to start heading home.  Now, dealing with drunks isn’t the sexiest part about being an Uber driver but it is usually when you’ll make the most amount of money.  Uber’s surge pricing encourages drivers to come out on the road during these times and that increased pay can make up for having to deal with these unruly passengers.

But drivers have always had a lot of concerns in regards to driving during this time.  There are some drivers who flat out refuse to drive nights and others do it begrudgingly.

Should Uber Do More?

Unfortunately for drivers, Uber has a history of providing the bare minimum when it comes to what’s required by the law.  So whether we’re talking rideshare insurance, background checks or safety issues, Uber has deferred a lot of the risk of driving and owning a business to its independent contractors.

And this case is no different.  I’ve spoken with hundreds of drivers about this particular incident over the past few days and this video has really struck a nerve with a lot of them because it’s brought to light the real risks of being an Uber driver.  Uber is starting to look more than ever like a glorified taxi service with a fancy app and that can be problematic for a couple reasons.

Driving A Taxi Is Dangerous

There’s a reason why driving a taxi consistently ranks on top ten list for the most dangerous jobs.  And if you couldn’t tell from the plexiglass screen that sits in-between you and your taxi driver, a report from OSHA released in the year 2000 found that taxi drivers are 60 times more likely than other workers to be murdered on the job.

Additionally, the report provided several recommendations in order to make things safer for taxi drivers:

  • automatic vehicle location or global positioning systems (GPS) to locate drivers in distress;
  • caller ID to help trace location of fares;
  • first-aid kits in every car for use in emergencies;
  • in-car surveillance cameras;
  • partitions or shields;
  • protocol with police — owners and police to track high-crime locations;
  • radios to communicate in emergencies (e.g., with an “open mike switch”);
  • safety training for drivers;
  • silent alarms;
  • use of credit/debit cards (“cashless” fare systems) to discourage robberies.

Out of the ten recommendations pulled straight from the OSHA report, Uber provides only three of these features on their platform.  Everything that you see in bold is currently not in place for Uber drivers and remember, this report was released in the year 2000, so it’s not exactly breaking news.

This driver in this incident was actually pretty well prepared though with a dash cam and pepper spray.  Unfortunately, most Uber drivers haven’t even considered this kind of stuff until now.

In the days following the incident, I’ve fielded hundreds of inquiries from drivers about dash cams and whether or not they should be carrying non-lethal weapons.  Nowhere in Uber’s lackluster training material does it mention the word dash cam and here’s the response I got from Uber’s customer support team when asking if I, as a driver, could carry non-lethal weapons while I’m driving.

Are Uber Drivers Even Allowed To Carry Non-lethal Weapons?

This e-mail is a microcosm of the training and support that Uber drivers get on the job.  Their questions are often met with frustrating responses and Uber rarely provides any sort of real guidance or help.  It’s one of the reasons that drivers turn to third party resources like my own blog to get help and real-life advice.

Safety Issues Are Real

When you think about Uber’s slogan, “Everybody’s Private Driver”, the image you conjure up in your head probably doesn’t involve plexiglass screens, dash cams and pepper spray.  But maybe it should.

Uber and competitors like Lyft were built on the idea that normal every day people could drive to make a little extra cash in their spare time.  Uber’s public policy strategist, David Plouffe, recently touted the fact that of the 400,000 Uber drivers nationwide, more than 50% of them drive less than 10 hours per week, which would seem to corroborate that narrative.

But as Uber has expanded beyond the tech savvy millennial demographic and eroded the taxi industry’s market share, it’s passenger base has started to encompass that very same group that makes driving a taxi so dangerous.  The fact that a majority of Uber drivers drive less than 10 hours per week is actually a really bad thing when it comes to safety since it means they are less adequately prepared to handle these types of situations.

In the days after this event, I heard from many taxi drivers who told me, this Uber driver handled this situation very poorly.  And while there’s obviously no excuse for the violence perpetrated by Golden, it’s possible that this situation could have easily been prevented with any single one of the numerous recommendations from that 15 year old OSHA report.

Even the most basic of real-time support systems like an emergency phone line that Uber drivers can call would make things safer for drivers.  As it stands today, there’s actually no way for Uber drivers to contact Uber in real-time while they’re out driving.  They’re asked to e-mail in about any problems they have with a specific passenger or ride, which seems almost ridiculous for a $50 billion company.

Uber has reacted to this incident the way you’d expect, releasing an official statement that said, “We’ve been in contact with Mr. Caban and are thankful he is doing ok. We will provide any information to the investigating authorities as needed. The rider involved in this incident has been permanently banned from the platform.”

But the real question is, is this enough?  According to Plouffe, Uber is ‘creating jobs’ at a breakneck pace but they still aren’t required to provide things like adequate safety training or worker protections to its drivers.  Passengers may have questioned Uber’s safety practices in the past, but now, a lot of Uber drivers are starting to wonder the same thing.


About Harry Campbell, The RideShare Guy

Hello TFF Readers, my name is Harry Campbell and I run a blog for rideshare drivers called The Rideshare Guy and I also write about the on demand economy for Forbes.  I’ll be sharing articles from time to time on what’s going on in the world of rideshare and what you need to know as a passenger whether you enjoy taxis, rideshare or all of the above!

How Uber Drivers Can Redeem Themselves if They Make a Wrong Turn!

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I cannot tell you how many times I have missed the correct turn off while engaged in a deep conversation or maybe victimized by the infamous GPS lag, it happens to the best of us. I previously mentioned how important it is to know your city; however, it’s impossible to know every street, shortcut, neighborhood ect ect so relying on our GPS systems is often all we have, especially if your pax is unfamiliar with the area or intoxicated. None of this really matters anyways right? In the passengers eyes you just made a wrong turn, which could potentially end in a bad rating and extra mileage/money tacked on to the trip..

Many driver’s would simply re route their destination, arrive at the destination and end the trip with seemingly no issues . Keep in mind that, even though your passenger may remain friendly and thank you for the ride, they are concerned about the resulting price and may question your true intentions after walking away (and rightfully so).

Most of your passengers completely understand mistakes happen but it’s your job as a driver to rectify the situation so the passenger does not feel ripped off. By addressing the mistake when it happens, your passenger will feel humbled and relieved to know that their driver is providing the best service possible.

Many new drivers are not aware that any trip/fare can be adjusted immediately after arriving at the destination. Once you realize you have made the mistake its important to immediately apologize (you did nothing wrong but an apology does help) and assure the passenger/s that the fare will be adjusted to reflect the most direct route. I do not suggest ending the trip early because firstly, you do not know exactly how much extra mileage you had to cover in order to get back on the correct route. Secondly, its important your passenger/s are covered from start to finish in case of an accident or a multitude of other possible incidentals.

Here is how you correctly address the passenger and rectify the situation:

After the trip is complete you will slide the red “end trip” bar and enter the rating like you normally would for any other trip. Before going online you need to pull up the ride in the trip history section and submit the button that reads “need help” You will now see a drop down screen with a list of problems/issues- from that menu chose the feature that reads “did not start or end trip on time” It will prompt you to enter the pickup location/address and the destination location/address. Uber will then calculate the fare using the most direct route and adjust the price. Using this method is especially important if your trip was conducted during a surge.

So..there is no need to panic or get frustrated if you get a bit turned around because there is a solution that pleases everyone involved. Right before the passenger exits your vehicle, I personally apologize once more and explain that the fare will be adjusted in a short amount of time. Explain that the current reflected charge is not accurate and Uber will send an updated receipt via email.

Try not to let a simple mistake turn into a bad rating despite an otherwise flawless ride. Trust me, your passenger will leave feeling impressed. I am surprised at times to hear some of the responses from passengers after you explain this simple remedy. They usually mention instances where their driver never admitted to the mistake and drove several extra miles before finally finding the appropriate destination, never offering a solution. Most of them will express their appreciation and gratitude. Remember, its a simple fix and will most likely prevent your rating from taking an unnecessary hit.

I hope this helps driver’s who have experienced this problem in the past!

Please continue to follow and subscribe for new blog notifications. You are always welcome to comment and ask questions in the comments section of each blog.

Remember to have fun, drive safe and Uber On!!! 😉


Author – Dan McCarthy
Dan McCarthy runs the well known blog, Uber Classroom and he also guest posts on EEZZDriver. Make sure to check out both blogs to stay up to date on all things rideshare!

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Will Google & Waze’s Carpool App Ever Compete With Uber?

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Google’s Waze made big news the other day when it announced that it would be testing a carpool service in Israel that lets commuters share rides for a small fee.  The service, called RideWith, is aimed at connecting drivers on their way to work with passengers traveling along the same route.

There’s obviously major competition in this space, most notably Uber’s carpooling service UberPool, but RideWith appears to initially be focused on a different market.  DriveWith will target commuters, on their way to/from work, taking what are known as incidental trips.  Incidental trips are rides that would have been taken regardless of whether they were shared or not.

Will Google & Waze's Carpooling App Ever Compete With Uber? (Photo: Bloomberg)

Uber currently offers a shared ride feature called UberPool in select cities but it’s unclear what percentage of these shared rides are incidental trips.  There’s actually a good argument that Uber’s low fares and services like UberPool could be putting more cars on the road by making transportation so accessible.  Many passengers who may have opted for walking, public transportation or even carpooling in the past have now switched to Uber.

The Problem With Carpooling

Carpooling has traditionally struggled because of the cost (not always monetary either) of finding a suitable match.  Typing out a flyer for carpoolers, printing it and putting it on a bulletin board at work isn’t exactly the model of efficiency.  But technology has made that process a lot easier.

We know that there are millions of solo rides every single day with lots of people headed to/from the same general area so it makes sense to figure out a way to combine a majority of those rides.  Tech solutions will handle that problem with ease but the real question is whether there is enough incentive for these drivers to partake.

Everyone’s A Rider

Based off the success of Uber, it should be clear that there is no shortage of people willing to get chauffeured around instead of  having to drive themselves.  But I don’t see how covering the cost of gas and wear and tear is enough incentive to get busy professionals on their way to work or even worse, on their way home, to carpool.

Based off a 2013 Brookings study, the average commute time for 96 metro areas in the US was just under 8 miles.  But even for commutes on the right-side of the tail, that is only going to amount to a few dollars per day: a great deal for the passenger but not a whole lot of financial reward for drivers.

Obviously, the real incentive here is removing un-needed cars from the road, which benefits society as a whole through less traffic and congestion, quicker commute times and less carbon emission.  And while that all sounds great, it still requires a driver to go out of their way to achieve all this.  And when you take into account the time spent going out of your way to pick-up and drop-off additional passenger(s), those few dollars of savings become a whole lot less attractive.

Nobody Likes To Be The Driver

We’re already seeing this play out on UberPool today.  Uber drivers, used to making normal UberX rates for taking one passenger now make only 10-20% more on an UberPool ride.  Drivers are paid normal UberX rates from the first pick-up to the last drop-off but there’s a lot more work involved.  I know from experience that picking up and dropping off an extra passenger can be a huge hassle.

When asked about UberPool, Jose Luis, a driver out of Los Angeles, told me, “I dislike UberPool since it feels like a lot more work for the pay. ”

Other drivers have echoed Jose’s statements and although the service has been wildly popular with passengers, most drivers are not big fans of UberPool.  If Uber drivers are hesitant to carpool and they’re being paid for it, there’s no reason for busy commuters to take time out of their day to carpool for even less money.


About Harry Campbell, The RideShare Guy

Hello TFF Readers, my name is Harry Campbell and I run a blog for rideshare drivers called The Rideshare Guy and I also write about the on demand economy for Forbes.  I’ll be sharing articles from time to time on what’s going on in the world of rideshare and what you need to know as a passenger whether you enjoy taxis, rideshare or all of the above!

An Exclusive Interview with The Rideshare Guy

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If you ride or drive with Uber or Lyft it is likely you have heard of “The Rideshare Guy“, Harry Campbell. Harry has made a name for himself by providing the rideshare community, especially rideshare drivers, with tips and information on how to sign up and drive for Uber and/or Lyft. His knowledge of the rideshare industry is quite impressive and many rideshare riders and drivers consider his blog and podcast an information staple within the rideshare community. Check out our interview with the one and only “Rideshare Guy” to learn how he became a guru in the rideshare space.


Hi Harry! Thanks for sitting down with us.  What gave you the idea to start blogging as “The Rideshare Guy”?

When I first got started driving, I noticed that there were a lot of questions new drivers had.  I had a lot of the same questions so I took it upon myself to figure them out and then write about my experience as a driver.  Over time, my site came to focus more on a mix of information and I now cover topical content, information/policies, driving strategies and more.


Are you a celebrity in the rideshare world?  Has anyone (passenger or driver) recognized you while you were giving/taking rides?

Haha!  I wouldn’t say I’m a celebrity but when it comes to rideshare, there are a lot of people who know my name.  I’ve taken a couple hundred Uber/Lyft rides but only one driver has ever recognized me before I even got into the car.  I will admit, it was a good feeling though.


That is awesome! So we heard you were an aerospace engineer and now you are The Rideshare Guy full-time.  What was that decision like to completely change careers? Are there any similarities between aerospace and transportation industries?  

My wife was a bit surprised when we started discussing the transition but it’s turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done.  There isn’t a whole lot of similarity between my old desk job and driving for Uber but I will say that one of the number one reasons people drive for Uber is because they don’t want to work in the stuffy, corporate environment.

There’s definitely something to be said about being able to work when and where you want.  It’s not for everybody but that flexibility is unmatched.


I guess we didn’t expect there to be too much similarity between your two careers! Now that you have been an active member of the rideshare community for some time, if you had to pick, which company would you say is your favorite as a driver?  What about as a rider?

I’m a big fan of Lyft as a driver and a passenger because I think they are a much more community oriented company.  That being said, it’s a bit of a catch 22 since Uber provides most of the rides for drivers.


Do you have any great stories from driving with Uber/Lyft?  Can you share with us your favorite one?

There are a lot of stories to choose from but one of my favorite rides to this day was a pick-up in Los Angeles of a very elderly gentleman.  His nephew had installed and setup the Uber app on his phone and it was his first ride ever but he managed to request a car and he got me.
He was pushing 80 yet very active and we had an awesome 45 minute ride where we talked all about his life, why he was out in LA and how Uber was already changing the way he could get around the city.


How wonderful that rideshares are able to help multiple generations of riders! Harry, you know our team at TFF thinks you are worth 6 Uber stars but what do your riders think? Do you agree with the Uber rating system?

On the surface, I think the ratings system is great but unfortunately it causes a lot of anxiety and tension amongst drivers and even passengers.  There isn’t a lot of feedback so drivers are often dinged for unknown reasons and many passengers rate 4 stars as a satisfactory experience.  But drivers actually have to maintain a 4.6 rating in order to stay active with Uber, so anything below 5 is failing.


If you could make one major reform to the rideshare industry, what would it be?

I’m biased in this matter, but I think the drivers are what make this industry and should be given more freedoms to operate independently.  As it stands now, companies like Uber really get the best of both worlds when it comes to saving on employment costs but also controlling many aspects about how drivers must perform their job.


How do you see the transportation industry evolving over the next 3 years?  5 years? Will taxi companies survive?

Taxi companies in the US will likely have a diminishing role but I don’t see them completely disappearing anytime soon.  If anything, Uber and Lyft have forced taxi companies to evolve their outdated polices and practices in order to compete.  I always say competition among rideshare companies is a good thing and it’s no different when you involve taxi companies.


TaxiFareFinder would like to thank Harry Campbell for his support and effort; we truly appreciate his willingness to complete this interview. Make sure to check out his blog, The Rideshare Guy!

Here’s How Much You Need to Drive for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to Cover Your Car Insurance and Other Costs

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Rideshare companies are always promising high amounts of easy money in order to recruit drivers but these promises of easy endless money do not always show the public the full truth. Luckily NerdWallet crunched the numbers for us to see how many rides drivers for Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar would have to provide to pay for their car ownership costs such as insurance, gas and repairs. They also calculated how many rides are required for drivers to make $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000 in gross income. Check it all out in the infographic below and to learn more visit NerdWallet!

How many rides does it take to pay for insurance?



Why Senior Citizens Are Flocking to Uber

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I still remember the first senior citizen I picked up as an Uber driver.  He was 85, and visiting Los Angeles from Chicago for two weeks.  The gentleman was a retired museum curator but he had graciously volunteered his time to work with a local museum on a new project.  He knew absolutely no one out here but before he left Chicago, his nephew had loaded the Uber app on to his smart phone so he could get around LA.

The ride request came in just south of Sunset Blvd. and as I scooted over there, I saw that my passenger was calling me.  This was kind of an odd occurrence but I answered the call and we arranged a pick-up location (normally I just drive to the pin and the passenger gets a notification that I’ve arrived).  But he was able to quickly describe where he was, and within minutes, he was sitting in my front seat as we headed towards Hollywood.

(Why Senior Citizens Are Flocking To Uber – Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

That ride was over a year ago and in the time since, there’s been a significant up tick in Uber rides given to senior citizen passengers.  One Uber driver I spoke with, named Martha Voorhees, told me that “40% of my clients are seniors.  They have smart phones, their grandchildren have loaded the app and they were taught how to use it.  Then from there, they teach others how to use it.  It’s quite viral in the senior group.”

It’s a well known fact that the United States is seeing a dramatic shift in the age demographic of the population.  Census data from 2012 found that 76 million baby boomers (those born between 1946 to 1964) were living in the US at the time.  And projections from the Census Bureau also suggest that 71.4 million people will be age 65 or older in 2029, or 20 percent of the US.

The social impact of this aging demographic has been discussed ad nauseam but seniors have already started taking the matter of transportation into their own hands.  Despite technical challenges and unfamiliarity, a lot of them really don’t have any other options and Uber is the perfect solution for them.

Uber Targets Seniors Too

While driver evidence of an uptick in rides given to seniors has been anecdotal, Uber has clearly recognized the opportunity that this demographic represents.  In addition to the sheer magnitude of potential customers, seniors also represent the ideal customer for Uber.  The casual rider might need 1-2 rides a week but a senior citizen who has no means of transportation might need a ride or two every single day.

Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, has talked before about bringing down the cost of Uber rides to the point where it’s cheaper than owning a car.  But for seniors who don’t even own a car, Uber doesn’t need to compete with the cost of ownership.  A few weeks ago, they released a promotional video that details how Uber is increasing mobility options for seniors.

Uber Isn’t The Only One Though

Uber’s sheer size may be great for investors but it is also a weakness when it comes to serving the demands of niche rideshare spaces.  Much like what we’ve seen with the companies who specialize in ‘Uber for Kids’, there are a lot of things that a small agile start-up can do better than Uber when trying to cater to a very specific audience.

Companies like Shuddle and Hop Skip Drive, that solely transport children, have recognized that parents value safety, the ability to pre-book rides and upfront pricing.  Uber has faced issues in multiple countries in regards to its background checks for drivers, and even something as simple as a phone number that customers can call is not currently part of Uber’s offering.

There is one start up currently in the ‘Uber for Seniors’ niche, called Lift Hero.  It operates in San Francisco and allows seniors to book a ride online or over the phone with a live operator.  It’s that personal touch that tech-centered companies like Uber will likely never provide.  Lift Hero’s founder, Jay Connolly, told me “I’m actually surprised Uber hasn’t pursued this market sooner but it is a bit of a danger for them.  It goes against their brand, Uber is all about maximizing automation and efficiency, no phone operators, no personal service, etc.”

Talking about how Lift Hero is different, Connolly said, “We’re fusing the old and the new by providing a phone interface for seniors to call in and book rides.  Our company adapts to the rider, not the other way around.  And we provide more than just transportation.  Our drivers provide accompaniment as well and we train them to understand what our passengers (seniors) are going through and how to help them.”

Although Lift Hero seems to be addressing a lot of the concerns that seniors may have, Uber is the name that everyone knows and turns to when they need a ride.  And many seniors that I’ve spoken to still have some apprehension when it comes to riding with Uber:

  • Safety – It’s no secret that Uber has received a lot of negative press over the past year.  Seniors cite background checks for drivers, legality and safety as their top concerns for riding with Uber.
  • Technological – For seniors who grew up in a time before cell phones even existed, the jump to using an app on a smart phone can be a big one.  But most seniors I’ve talked to have been able to get help from a younger, more tech savvy relative.  The ability to book rides via an operator could be a big benefit.
  • Generational – A lot of seniors don’t want to ask for help despite needing to get places all the time.  Statistics show that seniors who can’t drive actually miss 15% of their medical appointments compared to their peers who can.

Some Seniors Still Love Uber

Despite some angst, it’s rare to find a senior who has had a bad experience with Uber and it’s not just on the passenger side either.  Uber doesn’t collect data on the demographic of its riders but on my site, (that caters towards rideshare drivers), I’ve found that close to 40% of my audience is over the age of 50.

And as I explored in a recent interview with a baby boomer driver, rideshare driving really is the perfect compliment for seniors in need of some extra income.  These drivers value the flexible nature of working for Uber and they’re able to use the money they earn from driving to top off their social security checks or combine it with income from other part-time work.

Seniors Help Drivers Too

With one year of Uber experience under my belt, there’s a lot to like, but there’s also a lot that can make you pretty fed up with the experience and the company in general (there’s a reason why 50% of Uber drivers quit after just one year).  Ferrying drunk passengers around at 2 am for $4 ($2.40 after Uber’s cut) isn’t exactly life changing work.  Sure, you may be helping them avoid a DUI, but you’re not always thinking about that when they’re banging on your head rest or on the verge of vomiting in your car.

The graveyard shift can be a bit thankless as an Uber driver, but transporting seniors really does make you feel like you’re doing some good for the world.  Voorhees summed up her experience, “I once had a 93 yr old walk out in his walker, I helped him in and I was amazed…He said ‘Honey I can go anywhere I want…the road is endless with Uber…now let’s go to the bakery so I can have my goodies….’”



About Harry Campbell, The RideShare Guy

Hello TFF Readers, my name is Harry Campbell and I run a blog for rideshare drivers called The Rideshare Guy and I also write about the on demand economy for Forbes.  I’ll be sharing articles from time to time on what’s going on in the world of rideshare and what you need to know as a passenger whether you enjoy taxis, rideshare or all of the above!