Driving for Uber has Jaded Me

Uber is a powerhouse in the arena of ride sharing, and I took pleasure in deleting my app. After being rocked by scandal after scandal, Uber just seems to be on a downward slide, and they just can't seem to get their shit together.

In the last 2 months, 9 separate executive officers have left the company, and for good reason. The CEO seems to be hell bent on not only making himself look bad, as many of us saw the YouTube video of him going at it with an Uber Black driver but also making the entire company look terrible too. Beyond arguments, CEO Travis Kalanick seems to care more about killing competitors than making a profit.

Kalanick argues in the YouTube video that they needed to lower prices to be competitive, yet Uber has never made a single dollar in profit. In fact, Uber lost $2.8 billion last year alone, and that has been a trend for many years. Can a company truly be competitive if they don't make a single dollar? Maybe the better question is, Where do we draw the line for competition? Is it competitive to purposefully not turn a profit in an effort to kill competition?

One of the biggest problems in Kalanicks approach comes right down to the drivers. I've driven for Uber in a smaller market, my current home of Greenville, SC. Greenville is a small city of only 60,000 in Greenville proper. This leads the market to be over-saturated with drivers and little demand for the service.  When I drove for Uber, my average hourly earnings consistently hovered around $9 per hour. In comparison, taking a full-time grocery position starts you off in the $10-$11 range and goes up from there. Taking another job also reduces wear and tear on the car and may even provide benefits like health care. None of which Uber provides.

Kalanick gets even worse in my and many drivers opinions. Uber's main competitor, Lyft, provides a way to tip the driver right from the app, something Uber refuses to do. Uber's position has always been the same here, that you shouldn't need to tip and that is a reasonable position to take under one circumstance, that the company pays a living wage... which Uber does not. This is completely a case of Uber being belligerent, this would be a minor feature to add, but they refuse to do so for some unknown reason... well at least an unknown and valid reason.

Aside from the driver concerns, Uber also continues to expand at a breakneck pace. Much of their losses in the past have come from expanding to new cities much faster than their competition. These losses have come with a major consequence though, company employees. Many Uber employees joined the company with incentives of stock options once the company went public... but it's been 8 years now and the company has yet to launch its IPO. The massive losses Uber suffers every year have a lot to do with that, what investor wants to put money into a company that doesn't turn a profit?

As Uber continues to lumber down the road of money loss there appears to be even more skeletons in the closet. From the top down, the appears to be a culture of in fighting, corporate espionage, and down right sketch behavior. Paying employees to ride with Lyft drivers and talk them into leaving Lyft, to accusations of sexual abuse in the work place. Uber is losing the image war and Kalanick seems to be the CEO that just doesn't get it. The only question left is, how long will Kalanick last at Uber? It might just be time to kick him out on his ass.