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This is only my second thread I've generated, after experiencing almost a month on the road stopping Aug 1st to wait and see what happens, having read lots and contributed a little bit, mainly my original thread, I have decided to call it a day.

I am a 45yo Australian male, self employed for over 20years (but lately not been going so well), a wife that works part time and 3 children aged between 11 & 15, living in outer eastern Melbourne. Prior was ADF.

I was attracted to Uber mainly by the flexibility so I could still carry on in my business when I got some much needed work. I am fortunate enough to have taken my very nice late model vehicle out on the road to do Uber. Riders in almost every ride commented on my vehicle, adding similar comments in my reviews along with my service and personality etc. I had the occasional rude, obnoxious, vulgar or intoxicated rider however all in all I found riders to be very pleasant and it was my pleasure to get them safely and promptly to their desired destination.

I'd have to say that overall, Uber Riders are ok. In most instances they are tech savvy, professional, educated and intelligent people. Culturally mixed which is wonderful, generally chatty with a gender ratio of close to 50/50, aged mostly between 22 to 55. Most of whom I might add have a far greater disposable income than myself.

I like many of you, understood from my single face to face 15min meeting with Uber (Richmond, Melb.) was of the very firm belief that "should my vehicle, my riders, myself and other property and people we'd be well protected by Uber should my own insurer not come to the party". I also was of the understanding that UBER VALUED ITS UBER PARTNERS (drivers) with the potential to generate a good return for the driver being Uber's equal top priority to providing the rider a clean, safe, reliable and affordable service.

But how wrong was this impression and verbal surety !

Uber are worse than our politicians.........and that's saying something ! They dabble around the questions posed to them via email, never giving a direct and firm response about ANYTHING. They continually rip drivers off with price decreases, despite the so called 10% increase today (which is not 10% but rather a smoke screen), they can not and will not assure drivers in writing about their insurance back up policy and from what I have read and researched 'the driver is on his/her own if an accident unfortunately occurs', the minimum trip rate of $6 is SLAVE LABOR while the base/time/km rate is too low to make even a humble profit. The surge is also another contentious issue that I question with its authenticity of operation.
In other words 'I think it is dodgy' !

Uber seems to be signing up more and more drivers at a RAPID rate, many of whom are dirty, smelly with not such nice vehicles and speaking limited english. The very driver the riders are trying to avoid by not using the accredited taxi service. It boggles me that Uber are doing such a thing as it seems to contradict Uber's own goals. Alas, it is only money that Uber has in its vision, not riders, drivers or a superior rideshare service.

I do expect in times to come that Uber won't survive, being a short lived craze, especially here in Australia it seems. It can't survive if it continues down this path as the tech savvy, professional, educated and intelligent people will turn away.

IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING DRIVING FOR UBER then by all means give it a go. I did and I enjoyed 98% of it. Great meeting other people and great driving here and there BUT I wanted to, and needed to MAKE SOME MONEY. I've done time, done the sums, done Q&A and done my own research AND NOW I AM DONE WITH UBER. The $$ and the risks are just not worth it for me.

To conclude: Uber won't change but they should increase fares by at least another 20-25% on top of todays so called 10% increase. There are a few good , smart people on this forum such as SDA who are trying, working and campaigning hard to see that Uber looks after its drivers. If you're going to continue to Uber then support these people and stick with them. The introduction of GST is a pain and a costly administrative process for the driver but drivers must obey tax laws. It would be so much easier and cheaper for the driver if Uber did charge and collect the GST but they won't so drivers must. The ATO is correct in applying the GST to the full fare before commissions and other fees are paid. That is how it works. Uber benefits more and they know that so they will never 'really' dispute it on the drivers behalf. Uber is just another o/s company avoiding paying tax in Australia because they can and don't care about Australia.

Remember though, that you only need to tender a tax receipt to a rider that incurs a trip over $82.50, and even then you only have to provide if they ask you for one. So carry a small receipt/tax book and include your ABN and keep a copy for your quarterly BAS lodgements.

I'll stick around on this forum for a few days or so but until then IF YOU'RE GOING TO DRIVE BE CAREFUL, THE RISK IS HUGE ! Oh, the MONEY, IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET Xcited ABOUT. Good Luck.
Good morning! Sure is a very well written, insightful, intelligent and unbiased account. Thanks, for the great idea sc00ba...

May I please publish it on the SDA site on the advice to new members page as a case study, I'm thinking we create a new page on the advice page called 'share driver stories' or a 'word from the wise' (suggestions?)

(attribute it to ? NotXcited? Former Uber Driver?)

NotX, I cannot resist asking you to let me republish this after such a kind plug for SDA, with or without it's a great piece but it just ices the cake for me!

· Registered
537 Posts
Good morning everyone and thanks for your kind words and support of my post, I'm most flattered.

Yes, I am happy for you Ghostwren to use all or part of my post in any way for which you see it might help your fight and for others considering driving for Uber. I like your great idea in creating an advice page, 'Words from the Wise' sounds like the perfect title.

Thank you again and all the best to each of you.
Thanks heaps NotX!

It's posted: http://melbuberdriverassoc.wix.com/melbuberdriverassoc#!advice-for-new-share-drivers/dgtg3
and also has it's own page http://melbuberdriverassoc.wix.com/melbuberdriverassoc#!words-from-the-wise/jaa9o

now to give it a blast!

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537 Posts
Nice post notXcited and also by UberRon.

It shows me a little bit of faith that it seems like most Australians, as desperate as we are to keep our head above water, will not sell our souls to drive for Uber.

It still boggles the mind that Uber wants to provide a superior service to the taxi's yet they want to do it at half the cost. The dregs of our society shouldn't be the key core customers - why Uber doesn't charge the same as taxi's and provide a superior service still confuses me.

My experience in Brisbane with the Uber management has been this - these are some very well qualified and educated people, some very impressive resumes amongst them - but OMG are they stupid. Too many that are too young, and have little to no life experience being in charge of a company of this size, and it's not just Australia, it's world wide with Uber - they like the young "disruptive" crowd running their business and they honestly have no idea. They are going to run into trouble here in Australia, because I honestly think Australian's are better educated than a lot of other countries and drivers here simply will not put up with this crap.
It's not just the education, it's the Fair Go. Nuf said.

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537 Posts
100% agree on this.
Being regulated will kill Uber in Australia.
This could depend on the regulations. I think they could be very bad for #sharedrivers if we don't take the chance to weight into the debate.

I think regulations might level the playing field for taxis and others and have the potential of making our contracts fairer.

For instance regulations that protect the consumer from too high rates is a good idea that Taxis need to comply with now.

Taxis companies / cabbies have a model where the company covers all costs of the drivers and also have a minimum 55% they must pay drivers.

This model needs to be changed and adapted for share drivers who cover their own costs.

Ideas for discussion:
  • Add to the current maximum price protection for consumers, some income protection for drivers like a maximum allowable base price drop per 6 month period....let them offer free rides or discounted rides if they want but the drivers costs don't reduce for these promotion periods so nor should our income.
  • Facilitators provide commercial insurance to 'fill the gap' in coverage for when share drivers are online and have no pax.
  • A SD licence that has a low initial admin fee (eg: tick a box on license renewal & pay small additional amount) then incremental charges proportional to the individual share drivers actual on road activity, not one cover all $22,000 per year Taxi License, nor a once off $40,000 HC License because this simply does not work with the causal nature of the share driving business model: market pricing like this forces share driving to lose something essential to what it is: part time, supplementary to income, low entry fee, low financial commitment as there is zero return on investment, we have nothing to sell when we finish up except beat up car which will probably need to replace for future private use anyway. It would be easy to implement a fee such as this.

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537 Posts
What about, if the medallion/license/permit was electronic and was a token?
Current way to license a commercial vehicle, is with number plates. This identifies the operator and allows that car to operate 24/7 (exception for peak cab licenses of course)

Let's say that a ride share license was $5000. Fixed price like Victorian VHA plates.
The license was an app that you logged in to before you logged in to Uber/Lyft.
Every time you log in, it shows on screen a history of who has logged in/out and at what time.
The license could be shared amongst as many people as you want but only registered people could use that medallion (screened, licensed etc)
Only one person at a time could log in

So if 4 people bought in and spent $1250 each, that would mean:
- we have regulation
- license
- state control over who ride-shares
- a limit on number
- suits part timers
- transferable
- companies could pool them (5 licenses between 20 cars for example)
- license allows double login during peak times (fri 8 pm - Sunday midday)

Thoughts / flaws?

Ghostwren Ill finish that email today, but I think this is now a sizeable preview
The idea I (call it LA license/app) put forward and yours (call it MA medallion/app) have pros and cons, I think yours is probably the strongest and best thought out, but the price point and co-ordination of the logins might get tricky.

MA has firm price deterrent
MA has road user level control
LA Concession/low price entry point attractive to Pollies as good for unemployment stats
MA physical medallion/plates is visible and easy for authorities to police
MA something to sell when business activity winds up
LA has no group diplomacy problem
LA has no networking issues
LA could have complimentary legislation to restrict congestion
LA has low production costs
MA double logins at peak times go some way to alleviate group co-ordination issue
LA charges directly linked to actual online time, charges are unique to the individual, so if you only want to drive once a month, or you decide to dramatically change your driving patterns, charges will always be fairly measured.
MA possible flexibility to buy and sell unused proportion of medallion and/or buy into other medallions if you need more on road time?

LA has weak entry control, (suggest concession entry point at lic renewal which would further weaken this)
MA entry price point might be disincentive to unemployed to sign up
MA networking tricky: what if you don't know any other drivers or do not wish to do business with the ones you do know?
MA group diplomacy/shifts might be tricky. What if you accidentally team up with beep beep?
LA has no inbuilt road user level control, but could be legislated? (NYC tried this but failed recently. Maybe if Mayor DeBlasio tried negotiating more realistically, it could have worked? May be not.)
MA physical medallion/plates cost money to produce
LA noting to sell at biz end
LA no external visible markings to to identify to police
MA one size fits all entry charge that does not adjust to changes in life circumstance, for example I might pay a quarter licence then only use it for a tenth, or alternatively, find i need half a licence.

I'll add to this list later....your thoughts?

· Registered
537 Posts
An excellent analysis.

I was thinking that MA is primarily geared towards individual ownership.
You are right that it does create an entry cost, which in comparison to today's figures is infinitely greater.

I guess the purpose of regulation needs to be looked at. What is the goal? Pax safety primarily.
I argued the point with Thelma & Louise (T&L) that the uber platform itself does accomplish this quite well.

Taxi plates limit supply and protect the industry, however Uber uses a market force to achieve an equilibrium. Too many cars, profits drop, driver stops.

Order is restored.
Do we want regulations that put a minimum price on Uber? Or even worse, setting a maximum price?
Look at what happened with the GST. It cut everyone's bottom line. Fewer people logged in, prices for customers went up. Service was inpacted and the base price went up.
This kind of immediate reaction would not be possible with regulations in place.
I now find myself arguing against myself.

I think leave it unregulated. But if there must be regulations, be careful what you wish for; and
Physical licenses are outdated like rego stickers were
Safety needs to the primary concern, Pax and Driver....bringing the discussion round to insurance

More information required here: g00r, you must have some idea by now of the going rate for insuring UberX drivers? PM maybe?

and someone, please teach me how to tag!

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537 Posts
But do you think govt regulation is the best way to achieve it?

Vehicle - your car is a piece of junk being held together by a few stressed bolts.
Current unregulated -
Passenger rates poorly/comments
Uber refunds rider and sends the car off for inspection

Taxis are regulated but they don't go as far as the 'chain of responsibility' that heavy vehicles have (something goes wrong, owner, manager, mechanic, driver, forklift driver all take a beating).
Taxis have a growing reputation for being shoddy.
You complain to the network "they're not our cars"
Complain to the umpire and a few weeks later you get a response.

Trying to report a driver in the regulated system is even worse.
Denying a passenger a journey based on their destination is against the law, unless that vehicle has a prior booking for a passenger with disabilities. That's the only exception. Unless they have a destination suburb on the pax sunvisor.
How many of them do it? Why isn't the regulator doing daily stings on this?

This is the chief complaint by Vic taxi users.
You try and pull thay stunt on Uber!
Someone posted a link today about a taxi association starting a negative ad campaign about Uber. (Paraphrased) "If the pax phone dies, they're screwed"
If I, when I uber decided I wanted to commit sexual assult. Let me hypothesize how I could do this and not get caught.

Pick up a guy (more relevant if I used a girl in this example, but that's just gross :p ), he's drunk and falls asleep.
I cancel the trip on his phone? Trip still remains on both our records.
I kidnap him, assult him, steal his phone and dump him in a ditch.
Logs on to his uber account, there's the record.
Pick up him and a few mates, requesting passenger gets out, I kidnap, assult his friend, murder him and I would have to drive past the guy's house without delay so the GPS log shows i delivered him.
Alternatively, don't take him home, assult him, bury him and say that he requested to get out here.
Well I can't stay logged in, cause I will get another ping.
Can't log out without explaining why I stopped working just after dropping the missing person off.

My point is, what is the problem that regulation will provide the answer to.
OK, every system has it's flaws, a knife is intended as a tool and can be a weapon. (didn't realise at time of typing but we regulate knives, cars, hunting and other weapons because their original intention can be interpreted). Taking some ideas to PM on good advice...cya there
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