The Morality of Surge Pricing
Russ Roberts

Uber is a company based on the concept of cheating. How are they cheaters you say? Oh maybe by making their company a “technology” company versus what they really are-a taxi service that outsources it’s drivers to avoid paying employees a minimum wage, with benefits, and protections such as recourse when they decide 10% cut is not enough and raise it multiple times to now a 30% cut. Uber is part of the “shared economy” which means that they share the actual cost of doing business(not really they just give it) with the drivers. So unlike a taxi service, Uber does not have to be bothered with buying vehicles, insuring them, maintaining them and fueling them. They make billions of dollars off of work they don’t actually do and only “share” 70% of it with drivers. If you do the actual math it works out to somewhere around $13-$15 an hour when you factor in repairs and maintenance on a car that if driven full time is going about 1,000 miles a week. Uber gets its drivers a measly discount at some car wash places and maybe even a chain auto repair shop. Think about the last time you had your brakes and or shocks repaired-you had a lot of miles on the car before then and it was over $1,000 to repair. Does Uber share in their BILLIONS of profits to help drivers they have deceived with the lie of $20+ an hour? Uber has been sued and lost twice because they lied to the public and said tips were included for drivers. They have to date ever publicly addressed this and have purposely chosen NOT to add the ability to tip on their app as Lyft has because they still want to appear the cheapest. The other lie is that Uber is taking more cars off the rode thus reducing carbon emissions-Really?! How many cars do you think any service would have to have on the road to get you picked up in most cases in less than 2 minutes. To put a point on it-as a former Uber driver, I had many passengers cancel a fare in less than 2 minutes in SF because the app incorrectly estimated 1 minute when I was on the opposite side of Van Nuys that has No U-turn signs for numerous blocks. Uber encourages bad driving with this since there are so many times it was not humanly possible to get somewhere in the estimated time frame due to traffic, road work, etc. Passengers who used to wait 30 minutes for a cab now can’t even wait as long as it takes to reheat their coffee in the microwave. The driver got stiffed if the passenger cancelled within 5 minutes so Uber has multiple calls from same customer cancelling until there was a driver who happened to be right out front. Uber if they know a disaster has happened like an explosion should immediately inform their drivers of the danger zones and leave it up to the individual driver wether they want to risk their lives for $20 an hour during surge pricing. The other problem I have with a bunch of Uber drivers going to a danger zone is that they are most likely clogging up the streets unnecessarily making it more difficult for emergency vehicles to get through. So while some spoiled techie who doesn’t like to tip wants to get to a trendy bar-the ambulance can’t get through to save a life because the Uber driver is making an illegal U-turn so he can get surge pricing! We get it-rich people who own companies like Uber don’t care-thats why they have millions and millions of dollars in a legal slush fund to make the bad things that happen to and because of Uber drivers go away. Remember the Uber killer who between fares killed 3–4 people? I bet you didn’t hear about that. Not a fan of Uber or any companies that decide that paying fair wages and taxes for being a business is for suckers. I am also someone who drove for Uber and had 4.8 stars yet in about 3 months of driving made about $20 in tips. Anyone thinking of driving for Uber would be better off delivering pizzas where it is unheard of not to tip your driver or Starbucks where in one day the tip jar gets more tips than most Uber drivers get in 3 months. Oh yeah-Uber frowns on asking for tips or putting out a tip jar. The privilege of beating up my car for self indulgent techies should be enough reward!😠