Uber drivers: Fare cuts are killing our income

Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 18:48:28-05

Good news and bad news if you ever use Uber to get around.

The good:  Fares are down for the start of 2016. The bad: those low fares are hurting some drivers, which means there may be fewer of them on the road in the coming months.    

Earnings Get Slashed

Vicky Zwissler became an Uber driver last year, to earn some extra cash.

"A friend of mine from high school was doing it, so  thought it would be a lot of fun to give it a shot," the Reading, Ohio woman said.

Her little job was soon making her some big money.  But when Uber slashed fares up to 25% in January, her earnings got slashed too.

"I was averaging about $500 a week in my spare time, and literally, instantly that went to $375," she said.

Another unhappy driver, who did not want his name used , forwaded us screen shots of his recent fares, as low as $1.94 in one case.  Others were around $3 for a fare.

Zwissler says bar closing time at night, or after big events like concerts, when fares go up, is now the only way she makes good money.

"Driving during peak and surge hours would be the only time to see significant earnings," she said.

Good For Passengers? Maybe

If you are a passenger, this recent rate cut sounds like great news, indicating lower fares. But drivers say not necessarily, if this leads to fewer Uber cars out on the road.

Zwissler says many drivers are cutting their hours,"talking to me and saying they are either not doing it at all anymore, or they have cut their time significantly."

And with fewer cars, you have to wait longer for a ride, and fares can then go up due to fewer drivers and higher demand.

Uber has released a statement saying "seasonality affects every business and ours is no exception. When demand goes down in the winter, lower prices mean more business for our drivers."

Zwissler though says she's not seeing that yet, and says on weekdays now she may be parked, because it's not worth her time to pick up a passenger for just  few bucks.

Uber typically raises fares back up to higher summer rates in April or may, though it wont say what it is planning for this year right now.

So don't be surprised if your driver is a little grumpy, so you don't waste your money.


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