Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently gave an interview to BusinessInsider.com. The topic was how Uber passengers can boost their rider ratings. It was a revealing read, but the most interesting quote came at the end, and it was more about Uber drivers and the need to be a smart business person.
“The biggest lesson for me was . . . it’s hard, and just dealing with understanding how the app works, determining or choosing which trips to take and which trips not to take,” Khosrowshafi said. “It’s actually amazing how sophisticated you have to be to optimize your own earnings power.”
So maybe the rideshare companies are listening to delivery driver complaints and rideshare driver complaints?
As a follow-up, Gridwise scoured conversations on Reddit and asked questions to both rideshare and delivery drivers about what they would change regarding their gig driving jobs. Some answers were predictable, while others reveal driver concerns about safety and the duplicitous behavior of customers.
In this blog post, we will look at the answers and discuss the ramifications. Topics include
- The problem of driver churn
- Rideshare driver complaints
- Delivery driver complaints
- Why is this information important?
- Gridwise’s new forum to voice these issues
So much was learned from this research into Reddit that Gridwise has now launched a subreddit. More about this later in the article.
The problem of driver churn
According to an article on Hypepotamus.com, Taken for a Ride: Why the Current Rideshare Model Is Broken, by at least one estimate, only about 4% of Uber rideshare drivers are still driving a year later, known as “driver churn.” Lyft faces a similar challenge. If the rideshare companies want to retain more drivers, they can do it best by listening to driver input on what works—and what doesn’t.
Rideshare and restaurant food delivery companies face increasing competition for drivers from companies such as Amazon Flex, Roadie, and Walmart Spark. According to the recent Gridwise blog post The Ultimate Guide to Being a Roadie Driver, Roadie drivers made $28.19 per hour in Q4 2022. Recent figures from Gridwise show Amazon Flex drivers making as much as $39 an hour in 2022. In a Gridwise blog post titled, Rideshare vs. Delivery: How Much Did Drivers Earn in 2022?, rideshare driver earnings for all quarters of 2022, according to Gridwise numbers, hover between $20 and $22 an hour.
Once you gain seniority as an Amazon Flex driver, you also get access to warehouses (and delivery routes) closer to home. This can drastically reduce the miles a driver needs to cover, especially compared to rideshare. Fewer miles traveled means lower expenses on fuel costs. Walmart Spark is a desirable position, evidenced by the waiting list for Walmart Spark jobs in many regions.
Rideshare and delivery driver request
Gridwise asked rideshare and delivery drivers for their opinion on Reddit about what they would like to see changed. Here are the answers from over 2,200 total votes from fellow rideshare and delivery drivers, company by company.
Insufficient base pay is at the top of the list of Uber driver complaints on Reddit. Drivers would also like to see a surcharge for more than two passengers. Other Uber driver grievances include unfair deactivations and the need for better research about those deactivations. Others asked about Uber driver app improvements, specifically to be able to see the name of a destination on the app, not just the address, and the ability to rate customers based on the amount of their tip.
Another article on BusinessInsider.com revealed how Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi anonymously signed up to drive for Uber to gain better insight into the challenges faced by drivers. Khosrowshahi was surprised at the number of passengers who were rude to drivers. Other passengers discussed personal problems and even confidential corporate information with their co-passengers as if he didn’t exist. Khosrowshahi admitted that it made him feel inferior.
The same Business Insider article stated, “Khosrowshahi’s moonlighting was part of a bigger operation called ‘Project Boomerang’ that aimed to get more drivers back on the app.… The findings prompted Uber to create a single sign-up for both rides and deliveries, to allow drivers to see drop-off locations before pick-up, and to give drivers hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.”
Wanting higher base pay is also at the top of Lyft driver complaints on Reddit, especially since Lyft drivers tend to trail their Uber counterparts in earnings on all levels. Drivers would also like to see an end of the acceptance-rate metric.
Driver safety is on the list of Lyft driver app improvements, too, as drivers indicated they want to see actual photos of passengers, along with the ability to select the area where they are willing to work.
Many drivers suggested that Lyft’s CEO should become a rideshare driver so he could better understand drivers, a request that likely emanated from the Business Insider article. The article also stated that Risher has “emphasized a need to streamline operations and get back to ‘better meeting the needs of riders and drivers’ in employee communications and public messaging.”
Delivery driver complaints
Higher base pay was again at the top of the list of DoorDash driver complaints. DoorDash drivers earned $15.30 an hour in Q1 2022, dropping to below $15.00 an hour for the remaining year. DoorDash driver earnings per trip are substantially lower than Uber Eats, DoorDash’s nearest competitor. DoorDash per-trip earnings were less than $8.00 for all of last year, while Uber Eats drivers earned well over $9.00 per trip. DoorDash drivers earn more per hour because they make more deliveries per hour. Driver saturation in some markets is a problem, though, as drivers commented that DoorDash could help them by limiting the number of drivers in smaller markets.
A complete look at DoorDash earnings is available on the Gridwise blog post Uber Eats vs. DoorDash Pay: How Much Did Drivers Earn in 2022?
DoorDash driver app improvements were another theme that appeared in the Reddit comments. Drivers complained about issues with the app and problems with navigation (“make it easier to find where I’m delivering,” was one suggestion). Many DoorDash drivers asked for help staying calm, an issue that could likely be solved if drivers had fewer app and navigation problems.
Yet again, higher base pay was the theme of many Uber Eats driver complaints. Uber Eats driver app improvements was another motif, as drivers want to end pop-ups for new order requests. Uber Eats safeguarded against this issue by having a “pause” button that drivers could activate if they got busy at a restaurant, but that feature disappeared from the app. Drivers would like to see it return.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, during his incognito time as an Uber Eats driver, was alarmed at the customer practice of tip baiting. This topic also received mention in the Reddit responses. Tip baiting is when the Uber Eats customer indicates a handsome tip with the Uber Eats order as a lure for the driver to give over-the-top service. Afterward, the customer either substantially reduces the tip or completely removes it. According to a blog post by FinancialPanther.com, Uber Eats allows customers to change or delete the tip amount for up to one hour after delivery. DoorDash and Grubhub do not allow customers to change the tip after delivery, so tip baiting is not a problem for these drivers.
Given the CEO’s experience, it will be interesting to see if Uber changes customers’ ability to reduce the tip after delivery, which would put an end to tip baiting.
Grubhub drivers repeated the same concern as other gig drivers. Higher base pay was among the Grubhub driver complaints. Other complaints included the need for more orders and Grubhub refining the times the orders are sent, so drivers don’t have to wait for an excessive period at the restaurants.
Drivers also complained about not always getting an apartment number in their directions. When it came to Grubhub driver app improvements, drivers expressed a desire for a way to rate restaurants in the app.
Why is this information important?
Both Uber and Lyft are now publicly held companies, under pressure from stock owners to show a return, which often leads to cutting costs.
On May 6, 2023, the Motley Fool reported that 34 analysts followed by the Wall Street Journal gave Uber stock the highest possible rating. This is great news for Uber, but when you’re at the top, you have to work harder to stay there: Uber still needs to pay attention to drivers.
Lyft, however, faces challenges. Share prices dropped 19% on May 5 when the company announced what Reuters described as “a disappointing adjusted core earnings forecast.” The firm also announced corporate layoffs to free up cash, some of which Lyft said would go to maintaining driver earnings.
But as these companies grapple with making drivers, customers, and stockholders happy, it is essential that outside forces continue to remind them what can be done to improve the driver experience. Drivers are, after all, the backbone of the gig economy.
Each of the infographics in this article follows a dual trend. Rideshare and restaurant food delivery drivers are concerned about pay issues. They also express a consistent need to address issues with the apps and develop new features. Rideshare drivers are concerned about their safety. They want to see passengers post real photos to their profile on the app. Uber drivers want to know the name of the location, not just the address of where they are going.
Gridwise’s new forum to voice these issues
Gridwise launched a subreddit that gives drivers a forum for voicing these issues. Gridwise has been an unending support of gig drivers across multiple apps. The Gridwise app allows drivers to track their various gig activities and see when and where the profit centers are, and on which app. It also offers the best mileage tracker for gig drivers, regardless of which app they are using. Another portion of the app allows drivers to track expenses, an invaluable and money-saving feature at tax time, when drivers need to claim every deduction available to them.
Download Gridwise to check out all the invaluable features!
And have fun out there.