Uber takes 33%, plus $60/mnth and doesn’t pay tolls

Nov 03 2015

I recently took Uber across a San Francisco bridge, which cost the driver $4 in cash. Cash that I don’t carry. Cash that I can’t add to a tip in the Uber app. I apologized to the driver (he wasn’t upset in the slightest and fully expected to pay the bridge toll.)

It surprised me that the Uber app doesn’t recognize that I went through a toll and automatically add it to my fare – especially considering that Uber charges my a ‘safe rider fee’ separately from the fare.

Uber takes 33%, plus $60/mnth and doesn’t pay tolls - DaveTavres.comAs we drove, I asked the driver more details about fees and found out that Uber is now charging drivers $60/mnth for an old iPhone (with service) that is used for connecting to the Uber servers for getting and tracking rides. I DO think Uber can/should charge for the device, as drivers apparently have the option of using their own phones instead (although I do not know all the details of that.) However, Uber is handing out ancient iPhone models, while at the same time adding thousands of Uber drivers each month, which would reduce their costs. So, this is yet another money-grab by Uber, but the cash-grab is from the drivers, rather than the riders.

To top it off, I learned that the rate is now 33% of each fare goes to Uber. That is HUGE considering how many drivers there are around the world. In 2014, Uber’s revenue was $1.6 Billion.Lyft -

In talking to other drivers, I’ve heard that Lyft only charges drivers 20% of each fare and (probably for a limited time), if a driver does 25 or more rides in a single day, they get 100% of the fares.

I’ll be re-thinking my commitment to using Uber and give Lyft a try.


Uber’s “Safe Rides” fee is ridiculous

Oct 22 2015

I’m a huge fan of Uber. But, I also know they take a huge percentage of each fare (I’ve heard from Uber drivers as much as 30%.) However, I also understand websites and technology and the costs to run such businesses, so when I see $1.65 fee on top of an $11 fare – of which Uber gets 20-30%, it makes me click on the link next to the ‘Safe Rides Fee’ line item.

Here’s their reason for charging that fee:



The Safe Rides Fee supports safety efforts for the uberX platform, including among other things a background check process, motor vehicle checks, driver safety education and development of safety features in the app.

Here’s the issue… As of October 2015, Uber confirmed a $40 BILLION valuation. That’s a lot of money – and I love entrepreneurship and capitalism, but in this case, Uber is just being greedy. That $1.65 for “background checks’ and ‘vehicle checks’ should be coming from the 30% they take from EACH fare that a driver collects. That IS the business that Uber is running. When I see the line item on my phone bill for $1.28 to help extend phone service to rural areas, I get that – it’s basically a tax to help those people Uber’s “Safe Rides” fee is ridiculouswho choose not to live near city centers, and it’s an infrastructure cost that will give a return in years to come. And yes, you pay that $1.28 each month on your phone bill. But that’s each month, not each fare.

Uber – you’re doin’ a great job (be sure to thank your drivers), but seriously, you need to re-think this fee. Those checks are part of doing this business. If you want to raise fees, do that – don’t try to hide your massive profits in lame excuses in the name of “safety”.


Call Uber to get a battery jump

Aug 28 2015

I recently left my headlights on and killed my car battery. It’s not the first time I’ve done that. That’s why I carry jumper cables in my trunk. Cables are great – when someone will give you a jump. This most recent time was the last straw though… it was 98° in Anaheim and I was on the top-deck of a parking garage at the Anaheim Convention Center. Apparently the Anaheim Convention Center isn’t as concerned with helping guests as Disneyland is… when I asked if they could give me a jump, both the security department and the parking department said they couldn’t because of liability. (Wouldn’t you think they would already have a HUGE amount of liability insurance being a Convention Center and all?)

It got worse… I asked five people if they would give me a jump and they all basically said no. Okay, last option is AAA / roadside service. And how long does that usually take? I’ve never seen it take less than an hour for one of their pickup trucks to show up. I REALLY did not want to wait around in almost 100 degree temps, then explain to the parking gate that AAA was coming and to direct them to find me among a sea of cars.

Jump-N-Carry battery jumper - DaveTavres.comSo while waiting for roadside service, I popped open the Amazon app and ordered a “Jump-N-Carry” portable battery jumper. I haven’t had to use it yet, but at about $70 it will be worth every penny when I need it.

imageIt showed up at my office and I was showing one of the office boy-geniuses, Randy Walker, who pretty quickly asked “Does Uber give jumps?” WOW. That’s why he’s a boy-genius. I would HAPPILY pay $20 to an Uber driver who would show up in 3-12 minutes, pull one of these portable battery jumpers out and get my car started again. Seriously. If Uber isn’t doing this yet, they should make it an option for any driver who wants to make a couple extra bucks. Uber – PLEASE – add this to your app and give drivers the option to do it as an add on.


Will taxis match Uber’s quotes?

Jun 14 2015

Will taxis match Uber’s quotes? - DaveTavres.comThis week I’m planning on stopping by the E3 Expo​. Although I live and work pretty close to the LA Convention Center, the parking is the killer part… so, I thought – oh, Uber​! Then, as I often do, I think about the competing business – taxi companies. Then I thought, “I wonder if taxi companies – or taxi drivers – will match Uber pricing.”

If I pull up Uber on my phone, enter a starting point and destination, the Uber app will give me quote. On more than one occasion I’ve opted to drive myself, get a ride or take a taxi because of their surge pricing. Not a big deal. But, what about those non-surge times? If I go up to a cab driver and show him my phone with the Uber price, will they match it? Do they have enough power/control to do that? Can (will) a taxi driver even give me a quote for a taxi ride (that’s somewhat accurate)?

A Google search doesn’t come up with any answers to that question, but I’d like to know… perhaps I’ll try it the next time I’ve got the option.


Disneyland Wi-Fi

Jun 08 2015

Disneyland Wi-FiWi-Fi is everywhere now, that’s obvious. You can even get internet access on the plane – for a price. So that’s what’s next for the Happiest Place on EarthDisneyland.

If you’ve been to Disneyland in the past 5 years, you know it’s getting almost impossible to get a good cellular signal where there are upwards of 60,000 in the park. So, just like JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America, Disneyland needs to spend the money, install a crazy-powerful wifi setup that covers 100% of Disneyland – then charge $30/day for it. Sure, on a 4 hour flight it only costs $8, but when you’re trying send texts to friends or family in the park, post your photos and videos to social media so those less fortunate than yourself can live vicariously through you – you’ll pay.

disneyland-logo[1]Knowing how Disney operates though, they likely wouldn’t even put in the network themselves… they’d ‘partner’ with HP (oooh, or maybe Google would do it!) and then so a sponsorship deal. That would be a fine idea though – as long as they give guests what they want – the ability to share their experiences with their friends who aren’t there with them. Plus, talk about a social media blitz! Disney would barely need to buy advertising after that, as there would be so many people posting and sharing about the attractions and shows – serious social networking!

On top of that, the same infrastructure could be used to finally bring private wireless access to all of the ODV (OutDoor Vending) locations and allow people to use their smartphones to pay for goods. Faster checkout, more product sold… sounds like a win-win.

We know it will happen – the questions is, when?

Google WiFi