Uber’s Punishing Drivers Who Don’t Pick Up UberPool Riders

Jul 28, 2016

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There’s no doubt that Uber has changed the way the world gets around. It’s made traveling in a new city more reliable and convenient, and getting to work a more affordable and enjoyable experience with $5 flat rates for using UberPool during commuting hours in NYC. Although you may be sharing your ride with a stranger (or two) when you ride with UberPool, it can definitely help bring the cost down. While, the product has been pretty popular with riders, it’s far from a being a hit with Uber drivers, who often avoid picking up UberPool passengers.

As a result, it seems the company has been “punishing” drivers for skipping out on these rides. According to reports from several drivers, Uber gives them a “time out,” locking them out of its system for up to 15 minutes if they turn down ride requests from UberPool riders, a service that is now available in at least 45 cities around the world.

UberPool is popular for riders, but
UberPool is popular for riders, but not so much for drivers.

So, why don’t drivers like UberPool? While Uber says the service makes more money for drivers because there’s less time in between rides, the drivers say they’ve experienced the opposite effect — because they have to go to different locations to pick people up, drivers say they have to work more and end up not making as much as they would with an UberX ride. Additionally, because there’s a lot of waiting around for other passengers, their driver ratings suffer.

What does this mean for riders and drivers in the future? It certainly reiterates the tense relationship between Uber and its drivers — Uber considers them to be independent contractors and not actual employees, but critics say that locking drivers out of the app because they don’t want to pick up UberPool riders is further evidence that Uber treats them as employees. For riders, UberPool can still be a cost-effective and easy way to get around — as long as someone will pick them up.

If you don’t already have an Uber account, you can sign up now to receive a free ride (up to $20), courtesy of TPG. When riding with Uber, don’t forget to sync a credit card with your account that will earn you the most in return, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred which gives you 2x points on travel and the American Express® Gold Card which gives you 2x points on Uber rides.

Do you use UberPool? Is this information something that will deter you from using the service in the future?


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