Monthly Archives: April 2018
Monthly Archives: April 2018
I had something happen last Sunday that I hadn't come across before. I don't think I handled it properly and wondered what others think. Please leave your opinion in the Comments section below.
First of all, I live in a holiday destination (Noosa) and so weekends are usually busy.
There's a roundabout into Hastings Street, the Noosa Heads main drag. Traffic moves slowly but constantly around it and into Hastings Street. There's nowhere to stop, but as long as your rider is visible and clearly signals you, you can switch your hazards on and pick them up. The drivers behind will wait patiently. And yes, it's different in Sydney and Melbourne.
There's a taxi zone with space for around 5 cabs just before the roundabout.
Now let me say up front I totally sympathise with taxi drivers' objections to Uber drivers using taxi zones. Taxi licences are expensive and have indirectly paid for the construction of that infrastructure. They own it and no one else, but particularly a competitor, has the right to use it.
I acknowledged the great service I'd received from two local businesses in a previous post Local Businesses Rock! I recently went back to both of them and again received such excellent service that it's worth highlighting.
Again, I recommend Bridgestone Tyres at 132 Eumundi Road, Noosaville and Sunshine Wheel & Mechanical Repairs at 3 Kelly Court, Buderim.
It was a rainy Saturday evening and I was taking my last Uber passengers for the day from Hastings St in Noosa Heads to the Tewantin caravan park. I was looking forward to getting home to dinner and a nice bottle of red. The riders were three young ladies whom coincidentally I'd picked up earlier in the day from Tewantin.
About halfway through the trip, we heard a nasty sound coming from the front of the car. I stopped and discovered an almost flat front driver's side tyre.
Fortunately, there was a service station near by so I stopped to pump the tyre, but no luck. The air was leaving at the same rate it was entering.
It happens to all of us at one time or another.
A rider calls for an Uber, you accept the ride, head out to the pickup address and then the rider cancels.
You wonder what the heck happened?
Did they press the Uber app and proceed to confirm and then remember they actually meant to send a text to Aunt Bessie?
Did they take a good look at your face on the acceptance confirmation and decide they didn't want to ride with you?
Or was there a genuine unforeseen emergency that was a legitimate reason for cancelling the ride?
Unfortunately, we never get to know.
And from my experience, we rarely get the cancellation fee either, because the rider has a whole 5 MINUTES to cancel without penalty.
This morning, I was in a good position to pick up an airport ride. Two hours before a scheduled flight from Sunshine Coast airport to Melbourne, parked outside the Sofitel resort hotel.
I love voice guidance and always have it switched on. If I'm heading for an unfamiliar destination, it means I'm not continually flicking my eyes between the road and my phone and that's a big plus.
I don't pipe the voice guidance through the car's stereo. I have a playlist from my iPod playing through the stereo and my iPhone using its own speaker for voice navigation.
This means I can control the volumes independently.
I set the playlist volume for the whole car and the voice navigation for my ears only.
Now, with reference to the image at the left, wouldn't it be nice to be able to select the voice to be used for Uber navigation? Even if they can't spell Queen Elizabeth correctly?
Unfortunately, that's not the case.
We are stuck with the Aussie female voice that Uber has selected for its navigation app.
BUT... why are there two versions of the voice? And why does every update of the app seem to switch from one version to the other?
Has anyone else noted this?
This is really part of the general question of how is the Uber fare calculated. Is it based on the time and distance from the pickup point to the destination entered by the rider or on the actual time taken and distance travelled?
First up, be aware that the rider has been given a fare estimate based on the details entered.
But it's just that - an estimate.
The actual fare will be calculated on the distance actually travelled and the actual time taken.
We've all had the passenger who asks "Can we pick up a friend on the way?" It doesn't matter whether it's on the way, or out of the way, you'll still get paid for it.
In fact, I use it as an opportunity to be Mr Nice Guy and increase the likelihood of a 5 star rating. I always say something like "Absolutely. No problem at all" adding the passenger's name to the end, if I remember it. Which I usually do, because I've memorised the rider's name when I accepted the ride and greeted them by name when I picked them up.
The other thing that can happen is that you reach the destination, perhaps a liquor outlet or a supermarket, and your rider asks you to wait and then take them back home again.
What should you do?
Uber has announced that it will be releasing a new driver/partner app in the U.S. this year. It will take a few months to be rolled out to all Uber drivers in the U.S. with Android users in Los Angeles and Atlanta getting it first.
We don't know at this stage when we will be getting it in Australia. We'll try to find out but suspect that Uber itself doesn't know at this stage.
Partly, it will depend on feedback from the U.S. rollout, how many and what kind of problems are discovered and how much work is required to fix them.
But it's further complicated by the many differences that there are between versions, not only in different countries, but in different states or regions within the same country.
For instance, the tipping facility was rolled out across the U.S. in September 2017 and we were led to believe that it would be added to the Australian app by the end of that year. See our article Uber Australia: What's Next? published on 13/09/2017. Now it's April 2018 and there's never been another word about it.
This is probably the most common complaint among Australian Uber drivers.
Uber drivers in the U.S. frequently mention it as one of the reasons they prefer driving for Lyft, Uber's main competitor.
It's the reason I won't accept rides more than 10 minutes away. If it's in the wrong direction for me, I'll have to cancel the ride and that's something I'd prefer not to do.
When I first started driving for Uber, at the start of 2017, the partner/driver app always showed the address you were picking up from.
Then suddenly, after an update, it didn't any longer.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a full-time driver and entrepreneur? In this interview, RSG contributor Jay Cradeur talks about what it’s like full-time driving, the strategies he uses to not burn out (he’s given over 15,000 rides!), and how he’s transitioning from rideshare driving into his own business.