Sometimes when a business comes under fire from every direction- Its public relations, Its employees, fleeing executives, aggressive local governments, and dwindling profits- it has to restructure certain facets of its business. Uber is a company that has experienced all of these in the past few years. Thus, with a behemoth that services the public and wants to maintain its viability, it has had to switch gears and change its pricing structure.
Here I have to admit my bias- I love Uber. It has been an extremely convenient, cost-effective method of transportation for me when I am in unique situations in cities that are distant from my home. I have used Uber in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Never have I had a bad experience. It’s funny that the media in order to create a story unleashes minor infractions and stories with the equivalent of front page headlines. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 received about the same amount of media attention as a bad Uber experience. While I am certainly on the side of those drivers who may complain about their lack of wages if they truly are unfair, the reality is I have not encountered one of these drivers and if they hate it so much they have the option to drive for another company, such as Lyft, or quit driving altogether. If the pay were so bad, then they would not be able to sustain their business in so many locations around the world with such a huge fleet of car owners. This is not like the minimum wage debate that engulfs so many low income families who can barely pay their rent let alone afford a car, and the media should acknowledge that.
Their new pricing structure is based on the route. If someone is traveling from a higher income area, then they will be charged a different price based on their ability to pay the higher amount. This pricing structure is not a new thing. For example- If you travel to certain restaurants in certain areas, you will find a higher menu price than in other neighborhoods. This strategy is due to the management's knowledge that in particular areas people have the ability and willingness to pay the higher price. In most cases, they succeed. Of course, with Uber, this will take a lot of technology and sophisticated algorithm mumbo-jumbo in which I know that you are probably not interested. However, the danger of this is in the drivers not wanting to service the lower income areas that will pay a lower rate. So I will leave you with this- Don’t be fooled. Uber is like every other business, and it is a pioneer in its industry. It will make mistakes until it figures out how to make things work best for its customers, employees, and investors.