Uber Driver Wants To Teach Others How To Jack Up Prices
There's a Los Angeles Uber driver who uploaded a tutorial on YouTube, claiming that his instructions on how to cheat the system and jack up prices works. Uber is saying that it doesn't work.
The driver, who goes by the name Brian, posted the "Driving for Surge" video on an Uber driver forum last week. It was accompanied by the message, "It would be nice if we all got on the surge bus and rode to profits together. Here's a little how to, please follow and share."
He's since taken down the video, but the Washington Post reports that the clip shows Brian repeatedly accepting then quickly canceling pickup requests until Uber's surge pricing goes into effect and increases to 2.1 times the regular price in some areas.
Uber spokesperson Taylor Patterson told NBC Los Angeles that they have many "safeguards" to protect customers from drivers trying to gouge prices. "Consistently canceling rides in an effort to manipulate the app or discriminate against riders is in violation of the contract that driver partners sign," Bennett said. "Driver partners who do this may be deactivated from the system."
The Washington Post says that since there are hundreds of drivers in a city, it's unlikely that one driver can affect the whole system and kick up prices. The way surge pricing works is that Uber uses an algorithm that goes into effect when many users request rides and there aren't enough drivers to satisfy those requests.
Other Uber drivers on the forum were upset with Brian's request for them to all band together to stir up prices. "This is a terrible strategy. You'll get deactivated within a week with that many trip cancellations," one user wrote. "It's way easier to just open up the passenger app, and keep it on your position. Once it's surging, you'll see the lightning bolt, and then it's time to hop online with the driver app."
However, another member wrote that Brian's method does work. "Always someone that'll say this strategy is horrible and will get you deactivated without trying it. You guys live in fear of Uber. I've been doing this for months and haven't received one note from Uber."
Brian told NBC Los Angeles that he doesn't think he's price-gouging customers, but is only doing it because there's a price war going on between the rideshare companies. He argues that he has no choice because Uber has been cutting their rates so that they can be competitive with the other companies.
"I don't like doing this, I don't like canceling 50 rides in a day," Brian told NBC Los Angeles. "All we want to do is give people rides make some money and be with our families. With Uber constantly cutting rates they make it difficult to do that."