10 of the biggest complaints about Uber – from Uber drivers

By Kitty Knowles 5 November 2015
Uber black car with driver

It's not just black cab drivers who are worried about Uber: London's Uber drivers have also shared some serious concerns about the app.

In the standard media portrayal, it’s cabbies v Uber drivers: a clear divide, with each group in complete disagreement with the other.

But conversations on the Uber forum UberPeople.net show this simply isn’t true.

UberSlash: Thanks black cabbie for your piece of advice and just to let you know we’re not all bad like your not all on one side.

BlackCabbie: Appreciate that. We have some serious knuckle draggers too. They’re the ones who give you hassle.

A few weeks ago we offered black cab drivers the chance to speak out about Uber, and they raised some valid issues, including concerns over driver checks, passenger safety, and pay.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some Uber drivers are voicing exactly the same worries.

Here are ten of the key concerns London Uber drivers have about their employers, as seen on UberPeople.net…

An Uber ride in Bogotá, Colombia. Pic: Creative Commons/Alexander Torrenegra

1. There are ‘too many drivers’

Abu: “There is too many drivers now.”

Rojinas: “They keep on taking drivers and we all end up in **** earning soon.”

Alan: “There are too many drivers. Today I started 8am and now is 12:20 pm I had only one job, last year this time I was making over £300 a day there is more supplies and the demand is the same.”

Shaykhwaz: “Start 6am do a couple of rubbish £5/6 jobs, then sit around and wait for a job. Looking at my Uber riders app, I can see loads of drivers plotting everywhere in London at least 2/3 cars on every street!”

2. A lot of drivers are low-quality or ‘crooked’

ianhutch01: “A lot of crooked drivers working for Uber now shafting the customers.
[Uber is] thinking about numbers more than quality. That will destroy them in the long run.”

Hogster: “As far as I can see Uber don’t really care about what their drivers look like, no training whatsoever for drivers who are new to PH [private hire].
They are leaving everything up to the drivers themselves.”

TrueuberX: “Uber don’t care who join as long as they get the 20%.”

People protesting against Uber in California. Pic: CreativeCommons/ScottMLiebenson

3. With lots of competition, drivers have to work ‘silly hours’ to get by

Chris George: “The only way of paying the bills is to work silly hours, leaving very little time for anything else such as time with the family, study etc.
I thought I’d give Uber driving a try i.e. after being bombarded by banner adverts by Uber telling me ‘Earn up to £1200 per week’ I worked for two months at 12 hour per day 6 days a week.
I was busy most of the time and accepted the majority of pings.

I found the work exhausting, many of the passengers were rude and self entitled, Uber unhelpful with generic emails to all my requests for information.

Once all the bills were settled such as the hire car, the diesel, the occasional fixed penalty charge notice, a minor scratch and various other small costs I was working for just under £5 per hour. This is before any other deductions such as TAX! I’m sure there are lots of other people like me out there who gave it a try based on the lies that Uber were propagating on how much money you could make!”

Uber Paris Protest. By https://twitter.com/JSGammaire

WTTennent: “Since working for Uber I have come to realise how greedy and corrupt this company is. They have totally tricked their drivers, there is way too many of them, and now a lot of them are struggling to earn enough money.”

Hogster: “With our fuel prices over here and costs of buying/renting/leasing a car, maybe a full time driver would need 8 frigging days a week!”

Jack Dunphy: “They know that drivers have put a lot of time, money, effort into this so its difficult to leave only gonna get worse. All this nonsense “You can earn this much” Empty promises.”

4. Drivers are concerned about their lack of ‘the knowledge’

abu: “Some Uber don’t know where they are going [because] we don’t do any knowledge. I think there should be some knowledge test.”

WTTennent: “If you’re going to be a taxi or private hire driver in London you need to have topographical knowledge of the city.
You can not be completely dependant on GPS. Even the waze app which alot of Uber drivers use and trust in is not totally accurate.”

UberLuxbod: “Uber should have kept the knowledge test that they had at the start and that would have allowed the sub standard drivers to get work in a Van or Motorbike till they got their knowledge up to the standard.”

Black cab in London. Pic: iStock/Nikada
Black cab drivers are still required to pass a 'knowledge' exam. Pic: iStock/Nikada

5. Drivers can’t keep track of fares and deductions

knowledgeboy: “I’ve just found out that Uber are refunding and adjusting fares without notifying the driver first. This surely has to be illegal? Just about amounts to theft!”

AmExec: “I’ve just had £15 taken from my weekly summary… no explanation given”

Jack Dunphy: “I might be wrong but these £5/£10. These small sums that Uber are taking off drivers it seems on a regular basis (imagine them doing it to their drivers worldwide).”

eric_london: “I hate Uber doing things behind its drivers. They are refunding cancellation fees behind drivers so you wont noticed until the pay email.
If you are going to do this then dons just give us the £5 fee in the first place.”

6. Not everyone is keen on surge pricing

UberLuxbod: “By all means introduce slightly higher rates to encourage drivers to cover the evenings and nights.

All Surge does is encourage drivers to try and game the system and encourage passengers to rate low and generally moan.

Much better to have the rates set at a reasonable industry average and have a small extra charge, not unlike the way Black Cabs do it. Or indeed Addlee who have a slightly higher minimum fare at certain times.”

Trueuberx: “If we have a decent fare say £1.80ish per mile and 50p per minute in West End and when it’s very busy surges to max 1.5x. Would that not be better then waiting for Surge? In that sense drivers and riders both happy.”

Sniper: “Due to ridiculous Surge Uber is losing users at very high rate. Soon drivers will be fighting for these £1.25/mile jobs with 40k on the road.”

Keepitreal: “Have any of you guys seen all the complaints on Twitter?
I doubt Uber will push Surge that hard again in a hurry because they are under fire from a lot of angry riders and many of which were first time users. Could have a negative long term affect on us all.”

7. Stolen accounts are a known problem

BJK1903: ‘I got a job from Brixton (2 big males ) on 2.5 Surge. They were driving me around London, windows open, music on. The trip took 4 hrs.
I had a sense something wasn’t right. Anyways the trip was £479.
Today Uber text me calling me to the office and they delete the trip on my dashbroad history so no pay.
It wasted my time, money, fuel. Thanks Uber. As drivers, how can we know a trip real or a fraud? We don’t pick jobs, Uber sends the jobs to us.”

Sniper: ‘These two big guys were using app with stolen CC details. Bad luck. 6th sense development takes long time.”

Zee_Chacha_D: “Something similar happened to me.”

8. Drivers see flaws in the way Uber actually works

BigRed: “Every time I get a job and arrive at the pickup location there seems to be no way of telling where the customer wants to go (even though they’ve put the destination in). This seems crazy as I could spend the time waiting for the customer figuring out where I’m going and how to get there. [It] makes me look a bit clueless when the customer says ‘which way are you going?’ and I’m poking and prodding at the screen and saying that I don’t even know where I’m going let alone how.”

Knowledgeboy: “At the welcome meeting we were told to wait 5 mins and then ask [the customer] if they wanted to cancel the ride or start the meter.
Firstly, it puts the rider in a bad mood and results in bad ratings … Secondly, I think it does the other drivers a disservice – as far as I know Uber is not a pre-book service … Thirdly, I also think this does a disservice to the riders. If, as I’ve previously mentioned I spent 50% of my time running around trying to find the rider: how much of that time could be put to better use in stopping any other riders having to wait for cars?”

eric_london: “I am leaving as soon as I receive my certificates mate. Riders are always right and f**k the drivers: this is what Uber is doing right now. I have wasted time and petrol to wait for stupid riders that never turn up, then all it takes [for them is] to hit help button to get it back. Rider happy, driver fu*cked!!!”

Uber Headquarters photo iStock/Jason Doiy
Uber Headquarters photo iStock/Jason Doiy

9. Uber ‘takes the piss’ with 10-minute bans

Haider: “Just received this message from Uber: From today, if you miss two trip requests in a row we will take this as an indication you are unavailable, and we will log you off the system for 10 minutes. If you change your mind and want to go back online, you will be able to do so after 10 minutes.”

Snoodles88: “This is taking the piss considering that sometimes you are within a Surge zone and they send you normal rate jobs. Im done with this ****. Handing the car back on the 22nd and finding something else to do.”

faisal.ahmed: “Uber sent me the same message. I went ballistic. These guys really take the biscuit honestly.
What frustrates me even more is how they word these messages. So F“*“ fake. They literally take the Piss out of us.
I’ve already emailed them accusing them of Sending Threat messages, because that is exactly what it is.”

Tahj: “Uber is starting to take the piss out of us London drivers! By introducing the 10 minute ‘Sinbin’ They are making us operate as a loss. Something has to be done.

10. There is little hope in the new Uber union

Keepitreal: “I would definitely not have the balls to join a union. Would be career suicide.”

faisal.ahmed: “I wish we could stand up against them but will probably lose lol!”

These criticisms are unconfirmed accounts from Uber drivers from across London. The Memo cannot confirm the allegations and has reached out to Uber for comment.