wtf uber

Uber rolls destination setting back to 2 per day in more cities.

A few weeks ago, Uber, in an attempt to repair its reputation with drivers, instituted a number of changes under its “180 Day of Change program.” One of these changes was to allow drivers to use the destination setting six times a day, up from two. The destination setting allows the driver to set a destination and then only receive ride requests towards that destination. Both of these were great changes.

Over the weekend, Uber rolled back the number of times drivers can use the destination setting to two in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Seattle. This morning, drivers in San Diego and Los Angeles received the news that they will only be allowed to use the destination setting twice per day. So much for 180 days of change.

wtf uber

Photo by cc_icon

The reason Uber made the switch back to two per day is that too many drivers were setting their destination for the airport and waiting for a request. As a consequence, riders going a shorter distance were waiting longer. This is a legitimate issue, but instead of going back to a limit of two uses per day, Uber could have changed it to three or four.

See, a lot of full time drivers use the destination setting once in the morning, and then once in the evening to get home. However, during the day, drivers often get a ride that takes them to the middle of nowhere. When that happens, it was very helpful to be able to set a destination back to a populated area, where the rider requests are. It would actually make sense from Uber’s point of view since it doesn’t do Uber any good if its drivers are stuck in the sticks where they won’t get many requests.

If you’re an Uber driver, and you’ve received a similar notice in a city not mentioned above, leave a comment and let us know.

uber destination settings

Lyft and Uber driver mistake

The Number One Mistake New Uber & Lyft Drivers Make

It’s an understandable error. Who can resist making two or three times the normal fare? That’s the main reason new drivers chase the surge. I understand. It’s really hard to resist. You’ve just dropped off a passenger, and ten minutes away there’s a 2.4 surge. Perhaps you haven’t had a big surge ride that day. Perhaps you think you can make it to the surge zone in seven minutes and pick up a big fare to the suburbs. However, whatever your reasoning, you should resist the urge to chase the surge.

When I first started driving, surges (Uber) or prime time (Lyft) happened often and would last for ten to twenty minutes. During rush hour, surges could last for an hour or two, or longer. It was nice. Over the years though, both Uber and Lyft have added more drivers, so it doesn’t surge as often. Also, Lyft, and Uber especially, have caught flack for surges during emergencies or big storms. As a consequence, when it does surge, it doesn’t surge as high as it used to.

So, you have a situation where it doesn’t surge that often, and when it does, the surges are lower. This makes the times when it does surge even more attractive, but it’s fools gold. Most of the time, if you head towards that surge, it will either be gone, or much smaller by the time you get there. Instead of a 2.4, you’ll be looking at a 1.2 or a regular fare. Also, you burned unnecessary gas to get to the surge zone. Even worse, there’s no way to guarantee the length of the ride you’re going to get. Is it really worth it to pass up a regular fare ride for a surge ride going 1.2 miles? Of course not.

Now you can still make good money driving Lyft or Uber, but it’s important to drive smart. Don’t waste unnecessary gas chasing surges. Besides the fact that it doesn’t surge that often, and the surge doesn’t go as high as it used to, there’s another not to chase the surge. Believe it or not, most surges last less than five minutes. So, if you see red on the map, don’t rush over there. It’s the biggest rookie mistake you can make.

Surge looks appealing, but will usually be gone by the time you get there.

Uber surge map

The Exceptions: When it’s acceptable to chase the surge.

As they say, there’s an exception for every rule, or in this case, three.

  1. If you are right outside a surge zone, drive into the zone. By right outside, I mean you can get a few blocks into the surge zone in two minutes or less, safely.
  2. If there is a big concert, festival, sporting, or other large event letting out, and you can get there safely in ten minutes, go for it. Those surges tend to last a bit longer.
  3. If you live in a city where there’s generally traffic in only one direction during the morning rush, sometimes you can do a dropoff, and then head back to the surge area for another ride. This tends to be worth it only on Mondays or Fridays (surges tend to last longer during morning rush hours on those day), but it’s difficult to predict. Generally, this only works in cities where everyone is going downtown in the morning, and the area that surges is less than fifteen minutes away.

So, unless the situation falls under one of those exceptions, it almost never pays to chase the surge.

Lyft Drive Phone Support

Lyft Adding 24 Hour Phone Support

Lyft Drive Phone Support

Up until now, drivers have only been able to get in contact with a person at Lyft in the even of an accident or safety incident. To do so, a driver could go to the Lyft Accident and Safety page and click the “Call Me” button. While Lyft has done a pretty good job answering many driver questions in their help center, sometimes a situation calls for help from a live person.

Now, Lyft is adding 24/7 phone support for drivers for all rides and issues. If a driver needs immediate assistance, they can tap the “Call Me” button in the help center contact form. Or, if a driver needs Lyft to call them back about a specific ride, follow these instructions.

1. Tap the ‘earnings tab’ and select the ride.

Lyft phone support

2. Tap ‘Get Help’ for quick FAQs. Often, many driver questions can be answered here.

Lyft Phone Number

3. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, tap ‘Call Me’ and a Lyft rep will call you back within two minutes

Lyft Call Me

This feature has just launched and may not be available everywhere yet.

Has this feature gone live in your Lyft market?

Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Drive Uber on Sunday morning

Driver Pro Tip – Drive Uber or Lyft on Saturday and Sunday…mornings.

By: Dave

Probably the questioned I get asked most is, “When are the best times to drive?” Friday and Saturday nights are generally the most lucrative, but not everyone wants to deal with the drunks as the hour gets late. Morning (5am – 9-9:30am) and evening (4pm – 8pm) rush hours are also pretty good. However, another good time to drive is on weekend mornings through the brunch hour.

Generally, you want to start between 8am and 9am and drive until about 1pm – 2pm, or whenever the requests slow down. During these hours, the city is usually more lucrative than the suburbs. The two main reasons weekend mornings are a great time to drive Uber or Lyft are:

  1. A lot of full time drivers will pull the overnight shift. They start around 7pm on Friday and go until 4am or so. So, come 8am, there are fewer drivers on the road.
  2. Because there’s not much traffic, you can get more rides done faster, especially before noon.

Drive Lyft and Uber on Saturdays and Sundays, but in the mornings.

Drive Uber on Sunday morning

See, although there are fewer drivers on the road, a lot of riders need to go places on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sure, many of your pickups are going to be rides of shame, but often, those are good long highway rides with little traffic. The other rides you’ll get are people going to church, and brunch. Now, you generally don’t make as much driving Saturday morning as you do if you drive Saturday 10pm – 2am. But you do pretty well, and it’s far more relaxing to drive Saturday morning vs. Saturday night.

SoftBank Uber investment

Softbank thinks Uber is overvalued by $20 Billion

By: Dave

Uber was last valued at $70 Billion dollars. However, Softbank is looking to invest $10 Billion dollars in Uber, by purchasing between 17% and 22% of the company from existing investors. That would mean Uber is worth only about $50 Billion, quite a haircut from its prior valuation. Benchmark, which owns 13% of Uber, has voted against the deal and is unlikely to sell any of its shares.

SoftBank Uber investment

SoftBank wants to invest in Uber, but at a discount.

Softbank is already invested in ride hailing companies Ola and Grab Taxi in Asia, and is looking to add a U.S. company to its portfolio. They believe the introduction of autonomous vehicles in the next decade will be a boon for ride hailing companies.

The deal may still go through as a number of Uber investors, including co-founder Garrett Camp, are willing to sell some of their shares at the discounted price. Also, Uber is still on track to lose around $2.5 Billion this year. They have roughly $6 Billion in cash on hand. So, without a new cash infusion, either from an IPO or the SoftBank investment, Uber runs the risk of running out of cash sometime in 2019.

Perhaps that’s why Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, wants to go public sooner rather than later.

Uber cuts back driver destinations

Uber begins rolling back 180 days of change.

By: RSC Staff

Earlier this summer, Uber, in an attempt to repair its reputation with drivers, instituted a number of changes under the moniker “180 Day of Change.” One of these changes was to finally, after several years, add a tipping option to the app. Another change was to allow drivers to use the destination setting six times a day, up from two. The destination setting allows the driver to set a destination and then only receive ride requests towards that destination. Both of these were great changes.

Well, it seems Uber is now starting to roll back at least one of those changes. This week, Uber informed Chicago drivers that they were cutting the number of destinations back to two.

uber cuts destinations

It just seems Uber cannot help shooting itself in the foot. I’m guessing they’re rolling it back in other cities as well. If you’re an Uber driver, and you’ve received a similar notice, let us know on our Facebook page.