All rideshare drivers are aware of the Uber Pool conundrum. The fact that the driver must suffer more driving time with more passengers and receive less income per ride has been a thorn in our sides for a long time. Now Uber has finally changed this situation by increasing the Uber Pool rates and given the drivers the green light to Uber Pool driving.
Here is an overview of the new rates and the problems that we encounter with Uber Pool driving.
Pool Driving: The Full Exposure
You decided to take a UberPool ride, what a sucker. The day starts to unfold. Your first stop is a young intern that never took a pool ride before, all fresh and ready to go. He climbs in and greets you with a nervous smile. You drive off, and suddenly the trip takes a right turn, off course, the young intern looks concerned and fidgets in the seat. You call him by telling him you have another pick up on the way, and everyone will get to work on time. He relaxes, and you pull into the next driveway to pick up the fare, only to find the place deserted, even the vultures don't visit here, and no overhead eagle screams are heard. You call the passenger to let them know you are outside and she tells you to wait a minute. The rider in the back is looking nervous again. The door to the car opens, and a horde of roses wafts in, this finely dressed secretary has bathed in perfume, and even the bees don't know what to do, most of them buzz off swearing never to touch another rose again. She gets in and settles next to the young intern, whose nose is now suffocating under the barrage of scent, You drive off and continue back to your route, only to take a left turn and stop by a coffee shop.
Then the lord, the passenger is waiting by the curb, although it is a bus stop and you look nervously around to see if there are no traffic cops or busses with cameras. The guy jumps in all fresh and sweet. He greets everyone and then doesn't stop yapping all the way to your next stop. His incessant chatter grating away at the back of your neck. The young intern is frantically looking for a way to escape and thinking of jumping out as a safer solution to staying in this loud and smelly moving prison cell. You cross over four lanes of the interstate and reach your next turn off, driving a few minutes into a heavily trafficked neighborhood. There is nowhere to stop, you are double parked, and all the drivers are honking, shouting, swearing and driving dangerously close to you. Add to that the prowling cop by the ATM, and you are up shit's alley.
Finally, the passenger, all two hundred pounds of him, settles into the car. You won't know if it's a man or a sweating walrus, all you do know is you start to thank the lady with the roses because his BO is Seinfeldian in grandeur. The chatting stops as the guy need his mouth to breathe, his nostrils have stopped functioning, and the young student looks like he has passed out. The new guy farts and that's the end of life, and you know it. Add to that the cell phone, slick and wet in his pudgy hands, you imagine all kinds of juices dripping and seeping into your upholstery and wonder if you should sell the car after this ride. You drive off and swear to all the holy deities you will never drive a pool ride again if you get to your destination safely and with full sanity.
OK, got the picture? Now imagine what each one will rate you. Add to that the decontamination your car needs, the time for therapy you will have to pay and the money you don't make on this route. Now multiply this on a daily basis and cover it over millions of drivers. Dante didn't need to imagine hell, all he needed to do was become an Uber Pool driver.
All Uber Pool drivers will get full UberX rates for every passenger and an additional payment, linked to the city you work in. In LA that is about 95 cents per passenger, starting from the second passenger.
While this small upgrade is nice, it is not all Uber has done, so here are a few of the changes that all add up to making Pool riding bearable but no less horrible.
Pool riders will receive a small information email that will explain to them the meaning of an Uber Pool ride as well as discuss what to expect.
Uber is changing the way ratings made, from now on when a driver rates a passenger less than five stars they will send the passenger a constructive critical note explaining more about the way Uber pool rides work. Why Uber does this for passengers and doesn't allow drivers the same luxury is beyond me.
Uber Poll driver ratings will not be included in the overall rating calculator. Uber realized that drivers could not control the way a passenger will rate a ride based on another passengers interaction with them.
Uber has changed the number of deviations from the route to a minimum possible; this means a reduction of about 20% in the number of turns a driver will make.
Pickup spots will improve. Passengers will be asked to wait at select spots, such as corners, the same as with drop-offs. If the passenger agrees then theoretically, it will save time and make the drive safer.
Uber is blocking restricted zone stops. It will no longer partake in allowing passengers the ability to endanger drivers, as well as other passengers and won't, condone drivers suffering parking fines and such. Uber will also back drivers deny pickups and dropoffs in restricted zones.
Uber has made some serious changes in the way they approach Pool driving, it took some time, and most of the changes will also take time to work completely well. It's a right step in the right direction.