The name of the business we know simply as Uber is Uber Technologies. It's a ridesharing app that makes it easy for people to earn a decent side-income by offering to drive passengers to and from different locations in their spare time. The ride-sharing app has had its share of controversies in the five years that it's been around, but there are people in need of a ride that have few complaints about the service. If you're not familiar with Uber, this is a good place to learn some interesting facts about it. Even if you've used the service before, here are twenty things you didn't know about Uber.
1. The company doesn't give drivers a discount
It doesn't matter if you're a driver for the company or not, you're going to pay the full fare if you use the service for travel. In fact, they don't offer drivers any special or preferential treatment when they ride as passengers, but there are a few perks for driving for them. They do send their drivers coupons that help to defray the cost of oil changes and tire rotations. Hey, it's something.
2. A design firm shares the name
Uber made it difficult for a design firm that had established itself under the name of Uber Inc in 1999. They had the name first, but when Uber Technologies entered the scene with a logo that looked a lot like Uber Inc.'s, there was pandemonium. Whenever an issue or controversy arose with the Uber Ridesharing company, it seems that the design firm was the target of lawsuits. This actually happened when a driver sued the company for an injury sustained on the job. They also receive hundreds of erroneous phone calls per month from people who find their number in the phone book or online and assume that it's the same company. It's been hell for Uber Inc.
3. There are restrictions on the age of Uber cars
Due to the strict limit that Uber places on vehicles in their service, drivers are not allowed to use a car that is over ten years old. This prevents people from using their fully restored classic models as well. Hey, it's a good thing because how would you feel if your Uber driver rolled up in an old jalopy? This is one restriction that works in the best interest of the passengers, even if it is inconvenient for would-be drivers who have an 11-year-old car.
4. Uber has served as a delivery room
One passenger climbed into the back of a Nissan Altima that her husband arranged for in an emergency situation. His wife was in active labor and was about to give birth. The goal was to make it to the hospital in time, but that didn't happen. Zanna Gilbert couldn't hold out any longer and gave birth en route to the hospital in the Uber driver's car. The couple was thankful because the driver handled it like a professional and the baby and mom came through the ordeal in perfect health. The Uber company paid for a professional cleaning for the car and the couple thanked the driver with a set of Knicks tickets for his trouble. Uber sent the couple a special gift for the baby...it was a onesie that said Uber.
5. Some Uber cars are rentals
Uber is seen as a way for people who are underemployed to make some extra money. It may surprise you to find out that some Uber drivers don't actually own the cars they're driving or their phones. Those who don't own a car will rent a vehicle to help them get a start with the company. It's all open and above board though. People who don't own a car, but meet all other requirements want to drive for Uber, the company has a leasing program that can connect them with dealers who are willing to lease them a vehicle. The same is true if they don't have a cell phone, which is necessary equipment. They're allowed to rent a phone for $10 per week for job-related activities. Most vehicles go for between $195 to $250 per week.
6. Tips aren't figured into the fare
In this day and age, so many businesses such as restaurants, etc will figure a tip into the final bill and give you the option of paying it in most cases. Uber doesn't include the tip in the fare. If you think that your driver has done an excellent job and you want to tip them, you'll need to do it through the app. Whatever you designate for your driver will result in the person getting only 80 percent of the tip though. It doesn't seem fair that Uber gets to keep twenty percent of all tips given to their drivers. Unlike Lyft, the other company that offers ride-sharing. They have a system that includes the tip so you won't need to go through a hassle to reward excellent service. More Lyft passengers leave tips than Uber.
7. Many Uber drivers say Lyft is better
There are many Uber drivers who have also worked for the competitor to Uber, Lyft. They prefer the tipping system and share that they get more in gratuity through the Lyft company and they offer feedback in the form of appreciation for their drivers. They're fun to work with but some drivers share that they get no encouragement or personal interaction time through the Uber representatives. This just goes to show you the differences between companies with regard to worker appreciation.
8. Uber drivers aren't notified of the destination
When you schedule a ride with an Uber driver, you put in the destination of your trip. This is information that isn't immediately relayed to the driver. They must either agree to pick up the client or decline the request, not knowing how near or far they are going prior to acceptance. Drivers could get more than they bargained for because of this lack of consideration for them. It's unclear why Uber operates this way, but it's discourteous to their drivers.
9. A prostitute may have sat in the seat you get
There is a chance that a prostitute has sat in the back seat of an Uber vehicle before you. This ridesharing app is becoming very popular with ladies who work in a profession that demands they move from one place to another for their scheduled appointments. This doesn't mean that Uber supports this illegal lifestyle, but it's not really any of their business as long as the passenger pays the charges for the ride in full.
10. Uber drivers rate your behavior
Here's something that most people don't think about. When you enter the vehicle of an Uber driver, they have nothing to do but drive you to your destination. Some make small talk and others don't but your behavior in their car is under scrutiny. If you have unruly kids, if you get into a fight with a friend or spouse, there is somebody else in the car who is aware of your actions and behaviors and in all likelihood, they're giving your behavior a rating of poor excellent or horrible.
11. Even if you're rude, Uber drivers will take you again if you pay well
Of course, there are some limitations to what a person is willing to put up with, but most Uber drivers report that they would transport a person who has been rude to them again as long as they were a paying customer. For the driver, this is a job. They're not there to make friends or enemies for that matter. They're there to pick you up from a specified location and take you where you want to go, period.
12. The Uber alarm for drivers is disturbing
There are very few Uber drivers who don't get annoyed or unnerved when they hear the alarm signaling a ride request come in. They are loud and obnoxious and the sound isn't very pleasant. This is a complaint that quite a few Uber drivers have in common. The one benefit is that the alarm is unmistakable.
13. Some celebrities use Uber
While you'd expect a celebrity to show up with their private chauffeur in a car that they own, this isn't always the case. There are several Uber drivers who report picking up famous celebrities and transporting them in their vehicles. Dr. Dre is one famous personality who uses Uber to get around town every now and then.
14. Uber Drivers are rated by the company
While you may think that driving for Uber is a way to be your own boss and not answer to anyone in authority, this is a misconception. Sure, Uber drivers get to set their own hours and work as much as they want in their spare time, but the company actually rates them in accordance with the number of job requests that they actually accept. Uber prefers to have their drivers accept no less than 80% of the ride requests that come their way.
15. The Uber Technologies company has a generous side
While it may sound like Uber doesn't do a lot of extra things for their drivers, the company has made some extremely generous contributions. In 2015, they provided three fellowships at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University to assist with payment for the spots as well as for funding the position for a new chair for the robotics department. They're doing their part to help encourage and support technology education. Their focus is upon technology that will not only improve lives but will also increase safety.
16. Your Uber Driver may play your song
Uber drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel and this gives them plenty of time to figure out ways that they can keep themselves entertained. Some Uber drivers will try to pick a song that matches their perception of the passenger in their back seat, so if they play a flattering style of music, the odds are that they see you in a positive light. If it's otherwise, you may have grounds to be offended.
17. Uber pays drivers more than taxi drivers and chauffeurs get
Statistics show that UberX drivers make an average of $7 more per hour than others in the taxi business. This is good to know because, for all the complaints made against Uber, they really do take care of their drivers after all. They could pay lower rates to Uber drivers legally, but they choose to take care of their workers with an increased financial thank you just for working for them. Who cares if they make you pay full fare for a ride
18. There are more than a million Uber drivers in the nation
Uber reported that every month there are hundreds of thousands of potential drivers who sign up with them. The business is currently booming and there is no shortage of workers in the phenomenal ride-sharing company that is exploding with popularity. Some months back, Uber celebrated the millionth driver making her maiden trip.
19. Most Uber drivers are men
The figures for gender in Uber drivers are lopsided in favor of men who opt to drive for the company. Only fourteen percent of drivers for the ride-sharing company are women. Seventy-one percent are men. This could be with the potential dangers for women who meet with strangers on the street and give them a ride. It's a scary world out there.
20. Uber got its start through crowdfunding
Here is something that most people are not aware of. Uber chose to go to a crowdfunding site in order to raise the venture capital to get their business off the ground. They found the backing that they needed to finance the startup just entering its infancy and it was a concept that people believed would work. In the first round of funding, they raised nearly a billion dollars which brought their total funding to $5 billion. This is becoming a popular resource for new startup companies to advertise their ideas or products and seek angel or another financial backing for their new ventures. It paid off well for Uber and its investors because the estimated value of the company is estimated at $51 billion.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson