Uber Continues to Evade Regulations

In yet another attempt to evade regulations requiring that it treat its employees as ……… well ……… employees, it is introducing a feature allowing divers to bid on rides.

Obviously, Uber thinks that this has two advantages:

  • It makes it easier for them to argue that the their employees are not employees.
  • It will structured to encourage a race to the bottom.

I don’t think that this will work for 2 reasons:

Also, it’s pretty clear that even though Travis Kalanick has left the company, the company has still not left Travic Kalanick:

Uber Technologies Inc. is testing a new feature that allows some drivers in California to set their fares, the latest in a series of moves to give them more autonomy in response to the state’s new gig-economy law.

Starting Tuesday morning, drivers who ferry passengers from airports in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento can charge up to five times the fare Uber sets on a ride, according to a person involved in developing the feature. Uber confirmed in an emailed statement that it is doing an “initial test” that “would give drivers more control over the rates they charge riders.”


The fare test and other recent changes are part of Uber’s effort to strengthen its case that its drivers operate with some degree of independence. Earlier this month, Uber capped its commissions on rides across California. Last month, it allowed drivers in the state to see where riders were going, letting them choose the trips they wanted to take. Previously, drivers agreed to trips without knowing the destination.

Uber’s latest changes will set up a bidding system that lets drivers increase fares in 10% increments, up to a maximum of five times Uber’s set price, the person involved in developing the feature said. That price includes base fare, time spent and distance covered by a driver. There is no limit on how often drivers can raise prices. Once a rider pings the Uber app at the locations in the pilot program, Uber will match the rider with the driver who has set the lowest price, the person said. Drivers who have set higher fares are gradually dispatched as more riders request rides.


Starting next week, Uber plans to let drivers also set fares lower than Uber’s price. In addition to choosing a higher multiple, drivers will be able to charge as little as one-tenth Uber’s set price, decreasing fares 10% at a time. They will also be allowed to opt out of surge pricing.

“Drivers want to make more money, but now they’re competing with another driver for that money, so it’s a lot more work and a lot more confusing,” said Harry Campbell, a former Uber and Lyft driver who runs the Rideshare Guy blog for drivers, which he says has about 80,000 subscribers. “What happens if drivers start setting fares lower and lower just so they can get rides?”

Given that the basic technology of Uber and Lyft is unencumbered by patents, I’m kind of surprised that someone has not set up a workers’ cooperative to compete with both of the firms.

You can pay the drivers a lot more if you are not paying off a bunch a venture capitalist pukes.

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