It seems that Uber is cracking down on Uber drivers that are catching the surge rather than concentrating on driving all fares. Drivers in LA congregate around LAX since there are a lot of surge rides there, some of them show 2.5x on the heat map. Some of the more experienced drivers started to notice that they were being filtered out from receiving LAX rides and only being offered low rate rides even within the surge area. An Uber notice was sent out stating "in a recent account audit we identified fraudulent activity associated with several partner accounts a clear violation of our Community Guidelines we do not tolerate this type of behavior and the attending partners have been permanently deactivated." Uber drivers in LA and LAX area were angered by this; some claimed that it is inevitable that drivers will seek out surges. The more experienced driver already knows the heat map patterns even before they occur and drive out to locations that they know will be surge areas, while the inexperienced driver will try to catch a surf as and when it happens. As far as Uber is concerned, every passenger has a right to a ride, and the discrimination of rides based on fare rates is against their policy. The very fact that surges will be saturated by drivers, while regular areas will be starved is a major concern for Uber since its reputation is at stake. On the other hand, Uber drivers claim that since Uber recognizes them as independent contractors, they cannot tell them which rides they can take or not.
My take; Uber drivers are confusing the term "independent contractor" with "anarchy." A contractor is bound by a contract to perform a service as defined in the contract. A person or company does not need to be an employee to meet the requirements of a contract. An independent contractor must do what the client demands, otherwise there is no point in having a contractor offering a service. For instance, if you were to contract a wedding planner and told them you wanted a gold wedding cake and gold service cutlery, then the cake that arrived was green, and the cutlery blue. The wedding planner would state that they are independent contractors and can do what they want. Would you not fire the wedding planner?
This is the issue facing independent Uber drivers and Uber, and this is where Uber has a right to demand that all clients receive service and not just those in surge areas. In the meantime, Uber drivers in LAX plan on having a strike. I guess Lyft drivers will enjoy the freedom from the competition on the day the Uber surge catchers strike.
Watch the video below from FOX 11: