Uber glitch is charging some drivers for rides, rather than paying them. One driver lost $50 on a single journey – so they quit the app.

A driver and passenger wear face masks as Uber and Lyft drivers with Rideshare Drivers United and the
 Transport Workers Union of America conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Some Uber drivers say they’ve been charged to drive passengers thanks to a glitch in the app.

  • Uber drivers are being charged, rather than paid, for rides because of a glitch in the app.
  • One driver was charged $2.20 for a 16-minute journey. Another lost $50 on a single ride.
  • Both were later reimbursed but said they quit the app because of the experience.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some Uber drivers have effectively paid to drive their passengers around because a glitch in the app left them out of pocket after completing rides.

One driver in Illinois said he lost $2.20 on a 13.5-mile journey. The driver, who spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity, said he had stopped driving for Uber and Uber Eats after what he said was a poor experience with the company’s driver helpline.

Another driver said she was charged nearly $50 for a ride and didn’t receive a fare for another.

Uber took days to reimburse the fares on some occasions, the drivers said.

Read more: Uber’s cheap and popular Pool ridesharing service lost the company as much as $1 million a week in San Francisco alone

The Illinois driver said he decided to drive early morning on May 30 after noticing that prices were spiking. Uber pays drivers more during these so-called “surges,” when it hikes up fares in areas with high demand and few drivers.

The driver said he accepted a request to drive a passenger from downtown Chicago to the city’s Midway International Airport – a 16-minute, 13.5-mile journey.

But, after dropping the passenger off, the driver checked his earnings on the Uber app and was surprised to find a negative balance for that ride.

He said it was the first time it had happened in his two years of driving for ride-hailing apps, which he said included nearly 1,700 rides for Uber and 500 for Lyft.

When the driver first accepted the ride, the app displayed an estimated fare of $36.67, higher than normal because it added a surge multiplier, he said. But when he checked his account, he saw Uber had removed the surge and the passenger was only charged $9.06.

And after Uber deducted a $11.26 service fee, the driver lost $2.20 from the trip, he said.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the app that verified these claims.

“It was completely crazy to me,” he said.

He isn’t the first Uber driver to encounter this problem.

After sharing his experience on Reddit, other drivers said that a common glitch was to blame, and that he’d be refunded.

In a separate Reddit thread, another Uber driver shared screenshots that showed they were charged $56.71 for driving a passenger, also in Chicago.

“It’s been going on for months now, and people post about it here almost weekly,” one Reddit user said.

Brianna Woodham, a former Uber driver in Atlanta, Georgia, told Insider that it had happened to her twice, and that she had stopped driving for the company as a result.

It happened once in early April, when Woodham was charged $49.54 for a ride, per screenshots seen by Insider. This was due to a surge fare being deducted, rather than added, to her account on the app. During another journey two weeks later, Woodham drove a passenger for 46 minutes – and earned nothing on it, screenshots shared with Insider showed.

Other users on Reddit said that on some occasions, they had only received their tip and not the full fare.

An Uber spokesperson told Insider that fares for certain trips booked through Uber Reserve, which lets riders book journeys up to 30 days in advance, were miscalculated “due to a software bug.”

“This was a terrible customer experience for drivers, and for that we apologize,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve ensured drivers have been paid in full for all affected trips, fixed the bug, and have put new safeguards in place.”

But both drivers Insider spoke to said that their glitched journeys had been booked through the standard UberX service, rather than Uber Reserve.

Drivers say they had problems contacting Uber for help

The Illinois driver said he called Uber’s driver support line from the help section of the app. But the line is only staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, according to the automated message drivers get when they call out-of-hours – meaning no one was there to answer the phone when the Illinois driver called.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to lose money on a trip and then have to wait two days to call support to have them fix it,” he said.

The spokesperson told Insider that all drivers have access to 24/7 support via in-app messaging, and that drivers who have completed 3,000 trips or are Uber Pro Gold, Diamond, or Platinum drivers have access to 24/7 phone support. Drivers at the blue level have access to phone support on weekdays, the spokesperson said.

The Illinois driver told Insider that he then turned to the Uber Twitter support account for help – and that after some back and forth, the Uber Twitter account stopped replying to his messages.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the Twitter conversation that verified his claims.

The driver decided to tweet about his experience. The tweet went viral – and Uber finally paid attention. A rep contacted him and Uber paid him the original $36.67 estimated fare, he told Insider, plus an extra $25 that the representative said was “for the inconvenience.”

“It took the will of the internet to even get the issue addressed,” the driver said.

Woodham, meanwhile, said that she was refunded by Uber for the first journey around a week after it happened – but that she still hasn’t been paid for the second, glitched ride more than two months later.

She said that she had reached out to Uber multiple times, but never received a helpful response or refund. She didn’t think the issue would ever get resolved, she told Insider.

Drivers quit Uber as a result

Because of the lack of support he received from Uber, the Illinois driver said that he was worried he’d be in danger if a serious incident happened. Drivers were “sitting ducks,” he said, and referred to a recent incident in Cicero, Illinois, where a driver was shot and killed.

“If I have a serious issue, it just opens my eyes to the fact that unless it’s Monday through Friday business hours, we’re out there on our own, there’s not gonna be anybody there to reach out to, to address an issue,” he said.

He said that he had stopped driving for Uber and planned to turn to food delivery instead, and Woodham also said that she had stopped driving for Uber after the second glitched ride.

“It just made me rethink which gigs I do want to do,” the Illinois driver said. “I should never be charged to work by anybody.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Some Uber drivers say a glitch is charging them, rather than paying them, for rides. One driver lost $50 on a single journey – so they quit the app.

A driver and passenger wear face masks as Uber and Lyft drivers with Rideshare Drivers United and the
 Transport Workers Union of America conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Some Uber drivers say they’ve been charged to drive passengers thanks to a glitch in the app.

  • Some Uber drivers are being charged, rather than paid, for rides because of a glitch in the app.
  • One driver was charged $2.20 for a 16-minute journey. Another lost $50 on a single ride.
  • Both were later reimbursed but said they quit the app because of the experience.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some Uber drivers have effectively paid to drive their passengers around because a glitch in the app left them out of pocket after completing rides.

One driver in Illinois said he lost $2.20 on a 13.5-mile journey. The driver, who spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity, said he had stopped driving for Uber and Uber Eats after what he said was a poor experience with the company’s driver helpline.

Another driver said she was charged nearly $50 for a ride and didn’t receive a fare for another.

Uber took days to reimburse the fares on some occasions, the drivers said.

Read more: Uber’s cheap and popular Pool ridesharing service lost the company as much as $1 million a week in San Francisco alone

The Illinois driver said he decided to drive early morning on May 30 after noticing that prices were spiking. Uber pays drivers more during these so-called “surges,” when it hikes up fares in areas with high demand and few drivers.

The driver said he accepted a request to drive a passenger from downtown Chicago to the city’s Midway International Airport – a 16-minute, 13.5-mile journey.

But, after dropping the passenger off, the driver checked his earnings on the Uber app and was surprised to find a negative balance for that ride.

He said it was the first time it had happened in his two years of driving for ride-hailing apps, which he said included nearly 1,700 rides for Uber and 500 for Lyft.

When the driver first accepted the ride, the app displayed an estimated fare of $36.67, higher than normal because it added a surge multiplier, he said. But when he checked his account, he saw Uber had removed the surge and the passenger was only charged $9.06.

And after Uber deducted a $11.26 service fee, the driver lost $2.20 from the trip, he said.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the app that verified these claims.

“It was completely crazy to me,” he said.

He isn’t the first Uber driver to encounter this problem.

After sharing his experience on Reddit, other drivers said that a common glitch was to blame, and that he’d be refunded.

In a separate Reddit thread, another Uber driver shared screenshots that showed they were charged $56.71 for driving a passenger, also in Chicago.

“It’s been going on for months now, and people post about it here almost weekly,” one Reddit user said.

Brianna Woodham, a former Uber driver in Atlanta, Georgia, told Insider that it had happened to her twice, and that she had stopped driving for the company as a result.

It happened once in early April, when Woodham was charged $49.54 for a ride, per screenshots seen by Insider. This was due to a surge fare being deducted, rather than added, to her account on the app. During another journey two weeks later, Woodham drove a passenger for 46 minutes – and earned nothing on it, screenshots shared with Insider showed.

Other users on Reddit said that on some occasions, they had only received their tip and not the full fare.

An Uber spokesperson told Insider that fares for certain trips booked through Uber Reserve, which lets riders book journeys up to 30 days in advance, were miscalculated “due to a software bug.”

“This was a terrible customer experience for drivers, and for that we apologize,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve ensured drivers have been paid in full for all affected trips, fixed the bug, and have put new safeguards in place.”

But both drivers Insider spoke to said that their glitched journeys had been booked through the standard UberX service, rather than Uber Reserve.

Drivers say they had problems contacting Uber for help

The Illinois driver said he called Uber’s driver support line from the help section of the app. But the line is only staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, according to the automated message drivers get when they call out-of-hours – meaning no one was there to answer the phone when the Illinois driver called.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to lose money on a trip and then have to wait two days to call support to have them fix it,” he said.

The spokesperson told Insider that all drivers have access to 24/7 support via in-app messaging, and that drivers who have completed 3,000 trips or are Uber Pro Gold, Diamond, or Platinum drivers have access to 24/7 phone support. Drivers at the blue level have access to phone support on weekdays, the spokesperson said.

The Illinois driver told Insider that he then turned to the Uber Twitter support account for help – and that after some back and forth, the Uber Twitter account stopped replying to his messages.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the Twitter conversation that verified his claims.

The driver decided to tweet about his experience. The tweet went viral – and Uber finally paid attention. A rep contacted him and Uber paid him the original $36.67 estimated fare, he told Insider, plus an extra $25 that the representative said was “for the inconvenience.”

“It took the will of the internet to even get the issue addressed,” the driver said.

Woodham, meanwhile, said that she was refunded by Uber for the first journey around a week after it happened – but that she still hasn’t been paid for the second, glitched ride more than two months later.

She said that she had reached out to Uber multiple times, but never received a helpful response or refund. She didn’t think the issue would ever get resolved, she told Insider.

Drivers quit Uber as a result

Because of the lack of support he received from Uber, the Illinois driver said that he was worried he’d be in danger if a serious incident happened. Drivers were “sitting ducks,” he said, and referred to a recent incident in Cicero, Illinois, where a driver was shot and killed.

“If I have a serious issue, it just opens my eyes to the fact that unless it’s Monday through Friday business hours, we’re out there on our own, there’s not gonna be anybody there to reach out to, to address an issue,” he said.

He said that he had stopped driving for Uber and planned to turn to food delivery instead, and Woodham also said that she had stopped driving for Uber her the second glitched ride.

“It just made me rethink which gigs I do want to do,” the Illinois driver said. “I should never be charged to work by anybody.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lyft says that its drivers are making ‘record earnings’ amid a driver shortage

GettyImages 1185995669
Lyft stock rose earlier this week after the company’s first-quarter earnings beat estimates.

  • Lyft said that ride demand outstripped driver supply in the first quarter, as travel rebounds.
  • The company said that the number of drivers was down, which pushed both fares and wages up.
  • But Lyft’s president said the company expects driver supply to recover “in the coming months.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lyft cofounder John Zimmer said earnings for its drivers are soaring as the ride-hailing app struggles to find enough drivers to meet the high demand for rides.

But while drivers are making more money than before, the supply shortage has led to higher fares for customers, Lyft’s executives said during at its first-quarter earnings call Tuesday.

Demand for ride-hailing apps, including Lyft and Uber, plummeted during 2020 as people stayed at home during the pandemic. But demand is now “improving rapidly” as the US economy reopens, Zimmer, who serves as Lyft’s president, said.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said that he expects Lyft to see a “roaring 20s-like” rebound into the second half of 2021 as both business and leisure travel rise.

But the number of available drivers is down. Insider’s Tom Dotan reported that more than half of Uber and Lyft drivers stopped driving during the pandemic, and that number has far from recovered.

During the earnings call, Lyft’s executives didn’t expand on the driver shortage, but some drivers told Insider’s Tyler Sonnemaker that they were holding out for higher pay and better working conditions.

And because demand outstripped supply, Lyft said it hiked up prices for its ridesharing. Zimmer said that this was an industry-wide trend, meaning that it didn’t deter many customers from using Lyft. He added that this trend would likely continue in the second quarter.

Lyft’s executives said that these higher fares, in turn, led to higher wages for its drivers.

Zimmer said that in many markets, average hourly driver earnings have been up “meaningfully” compared to pre-pandemic levels, and in some markets have reached “all-time highs.”

He said that drivers in Lyft’s top 25 markets were earning more than $30 per hour on average in April, which he said is up more than 85% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Lyft expects its driver supply to rebound

Zimmer said that the company expected to see driver supply recover “in the coming months.”

“As pandemic conditions continue to improve and health safety concern abate, we see more drivers feeling more comfortable getting back behind the wheel,” he said. “As the vaccine rollout continues, driver availability should naturally improve.”

He said the company is also bumping up driver incentives, such as enhancing its app so that drivers can find more opportunities to maximize their earnings.

Zimmer also said the company expected people in other forms of app-based driving work to transition to rideshare driving.

He said that rideshare work generally brings in higher earnings than food delivery, and has better opportunities for social interaction, which he said drivers are “craving” after a year of social distancing. He added that demand for food delivery might slow down as the economy reopens, leading to some drivers moving back to ridesharing.

Logan Green, Lyft’s CEO, also said that the end of federal unemployment benefits in the third quarter could lead to more drivers for the app.

Other industries have also been hit by huge labor shortages in early 2021. Restaurant chains like Subway and Dunkin’ are cutting hours, closing dining rooms, and pushing employees to work harder than ever to cope with the lack of available workers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber will pay its 70,000 UK-based drivers minimum wage and benefits following a major Supreme Court defeat

uber driver prop 22
Rideshare driver Teresa Mercado raises her fist in support as app based gig workers held a driving demonstration with 60-70 vehicles blocking Spring Street in front of Los Angeles City Hall urging voters to vote no on Proposition 22 on Oct. 8, 2020.

  • Uber is reclassifying its UK-based drivers as “workers,” it said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.
  • The move requires Uber to follow minimum wage, paid vacation, and other labor laws.
  • Uber strongly opposes efforts to reclassify its drivers, but pivoted in the UK after a legal defeat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber announced Tuesday it will reclassify drivers in the United Kingdom as “workers,” guaranteeing them minimum wage, paid vacation, pensions, and additional protection under the country’s labor laws.

In a statement, Uber told Insider the move will impact more than 70,000 drivers, and follows a recent unanimous Supreme Court decision that determined drivers should be classified as workers.

Uber initially downplayed the ruling, saying it “focussed on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016,” though shares of Uber dropped as much as 2% following the ruling.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Uber has opted to reclassify all UK drivers rather than fight legal battles with individual drivers about whether the court’s ruling would apply to them.

“Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives,” Jamie Heywood, the regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, told Insider in a statement.

The move is a major shift for Uber, which has aggressively fought rulings by courts and regulators in the US that have determined drivers to be employees as opposed to contractors. In California, Uber spent at least $30 million persuading voters to pass Proposition 22, a law it co-authored that carved out an exemption from state labor laws to allow rideshare and food delivery drivers to be treated as contractors.

Unlike American law, which defines workers as employees or contractors, UK law has an additional “worker” category, which entitles workers to receive the minimum wage, paid vacation, rest breaks, and protections against illegal discrimination, retaliation for whistleblowing, and wage theft. That classification falls short of guaranteeing benefits like parental leave and severance to which full employees are entitled.

Uber said the UK minimum wage, which is slightly above $12, will serve as an “earnings floor, not an earnings ceiling” after accounting for roughly 62 cents in per-mile expenses, but that drivers won’t be paid for the time they spend waiting for a ride – which some researchers have found accounts for as much as 33% of drivers’ work.

Uber also said it will pay drivers around 12% of their earnings as vacation pay every two weeks and enroll them in a pension plan to which Uber will also contribute.

Labor advocates voiced their support for the move and the court ruling that proceeded it.

“Dear America … see what happens when a government lays it down? Is Uber leaving? No, they’re actually doing right by their workforce in the UK. Our drivers deserve this too. Why would an American company short change American workers? Because we let them!” tweeted California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of AB-5, the state labor law that Uber sought an exemption from by pushing Prop 22.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to contact Uber support as a driver or rider if you need help resolving an issue

Uber phone app car
There are different ways to contact Uber, depending on if you are a driver or passenger.

  • You can contact Uber to get help as a driver or rider in many different ways. 
  • The easiest way to contact Uber is via the mobile app — in the Support Center for drivers or Your Trips for riders. 
  • To contact Uber by phone, there is an emergency number and a customer support line, so use the appropriate one for your situation. 
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, Uber generally provides a smooth transportation experience. 

But occasionally, you might need to reach out and get help from a real person at the ridesharing company. If so, there are a handful of ways for you to get assistance. 

How to contact Uber if you’re a driver 

As a driver, you can contact Uber for assistance through the mobile app, which will directly connect you with live support. You can also get help in person at an Uber Greenlight location, or reach out to Uber through social media.

How to contact Uber if you’re a rider 

As a rider, you can contact Uber for assistance through the mobile app, reach out for support via social media, or call the local support line. 

How to contact Uber Eats in several different ways if you experience an issue with your orderHow to contact your Uber driver before and after your trip, to arrange pick-up and report lost itemsHow to contact Lyft through the mobile app or website for customer support and moreHow to place an Uber Eats group order and let everyone pick out their own order for a single delivery

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the Uber drivers who spent 5 years fighting the ride-hailing firm for basic workers’ rights – and won

Former Uber drivers James Farrar (L) and Yaseen Aslam react as they leave the Employment Appeals Tribunal in central London on November 10, 2017. US ride-hailing app Uber on Friday lost a landmark case in Britain that would give drivers the right to paid holidays and the national minimum wage, lawyers representing the claimants said. Farrar, who brought the test case with fellow former driver Aslam, called Uber's business plan "brutally exploitative". Uber said it will appeal the ruling.
Former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam leaving an employment appeals tribunal in 2017.

  • Two ex-Uber drivers won a huge legal battle against the taxi app firm over workers’ rights.
  • Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar began the case in 2016, fighting for minimum wage and other rights.
  • Farrar said Uber is being defiant about the ruling but hopes it’ll come to accept it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Five years after they took Uber to court, two ex-drivers on Friday won a legal battle against the ride-hailing firm.

Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar were part of a small group of drivers who brought the original case against Uber in 2015. Aslam and his colleague Farrar, president and general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) respectively, claimed Uber was breaking UK employment law by failing to offer basic worker rights, such as holiday pay and national minimum wage. They won the case.

Uber disputed the claims, saying it acted like other traditional minicab firms and counted its drivers as self-employed contractors. At the time, this meant drivers had minimal protections, including no sick pay and Uber could avoid the costs of paying minimum wage. In 2017, Uber appealed the original ruling and lost.

Uber then appealed the case in the UK’s Supreme Court and the process dragged on into February 2021. Again, the company lost, marking the end of its legal road. The outcome could threaten Uber’s business model in the UK – one of its biggest markets – if it is forced to cough up back pay for thousands of drivers who may bring cases, and if it must pay higher taxes.

The dispute will go back to an employment tribunal, which will decide how much the 25 drivers who brought the case five years ago will be awarded. Aslam believes he’s entitled to between £10,000 and £12,000.

“I was delighted,” he told Insider. “It means a lot. I didn’t just do it for myself, I did it for the workers and drivers. I’m just a driver who spoke up for injustice.”

Aslam, who is based in the UK, worked for Uber between 2013 and 2017. Once, during his time at the company, he says Uber “deactivated” him for organizing a campaign against the company’s treatment of drivers. This meant the company didn’t allow him to access the app to pick up passengers, he said. 

“I’m not anti-Uber and I’m not there to shut Uber down. But the law is there for a reason,” he added. Uber did not respond when Insider asked it to comment on Aslam’s claims of deactivation.

Uber’s business model 

When Aslam first started working at Uber, he said it was good. He earned £50 an hour, got a £10 bonus for each ride, and the fares were higher. Plus, the company “put the drivers first.”

As he continued working for the company, however, the fares got cheaper and the bonuses stopped, he says. After the launch of UberPool, a service launched in 2015 that allows people to split ride costs with another person who is travelling in the same direction, drivers were earning even less, according to Aslam.

Back in 2016, CNN also reported that drivers said UberPool meant more work, but not necessarily more pay. Aslam said drivers have realised that Uber is “hiding behind technology to control workers.”

According to Aslam, Uber’s business model involves mass recruiting and flooding the streets with drivers and cars, while keeping fares cheap to attract customers. This has long been a criticism of Uber and its business model – that the firm, initially funded by huge amounts of private capital, could afford to keep cab fares artificially low at the expense of drivers and the competition.

Although Aslam thinks businesses such as Uber should exist, he said they “rely on exploiting people and they go for a mass scaling model and I think it’s wrong.” He believes the customer should take some responsibility in the pricing as there’s a human cost involved: “There’s someone behind that wheel and they need to have rights.”

The case still isn’t over

“The devil is in the details now,” Farrar told Insider. He said Uber is being defiant about committing to implement the ruling.

After the recent ruling, Uber was quick to point out that it only applied to the group of 25 drivers who brought the case in 2016. It also said the ruling was specific to how Uber’s business operated when the drivers initially filed a lawsuit, and that the business has since changed.

“Uber is trying to spin a line to drivers that this ruling only applies to the original claimants and not to all drivers,”  said Farrar, who worked for Uber between 2015 and 2016. “Not only is it untrue but it’s demonstrably contrary to the spirit of the ruling.”

He hopes Uber is just going through “a stage of emotional grief and denial” and that it will accept the ruling. But if not, he said the government and regulator Transport for London (TfL) needs to step in. 

Claims against Uber are already piling up

If the government doesn’t enforce the law and TfL doesn’t step in, Farrar said he and other drivers would have to “pile up litigation” against Uber.

Indeed, thousands of claimants are already making claims against the firm. Nigel Mackay, a partner at Leigh Day Solicitors, said his company currently has 3,500 clients with claims against Uber.

Farrar, who formed an organization called Worker Info Exchange to help app workers like Uber drivers access their data from companies they work for, said these types of claims could become extremely expensive for the taxi app company. He believes there’ll be a cottage industry of lawyers making continuous claims against Uber “because it’s an easy win.”

He added: “It’s embarrassing that the poorest people on minimum wage have to go to the Supreme Court against one of the most powerful companies on Earth.”

Although Uber did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, the company sent a press release shortly after the ruling, featuring a statement from Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe.

It said: “We respect the court’s decision which focussed on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016. Since then we have made some significant changes to our business, guided by drivers every step of the way. These include giving even more control over how they earn and providing new protections like free insurance in case of sickness or injury.  We are committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see.”

Read the original article on Business Insider