To push back against AB5 last year, Uber let California rideshare drivers see ride destinations before picking up passengers and let them set pricing. This was in an effort to prove they were independent contractors. Now, however, Uber is looking to reverse those policies.
According to Uber, the company is re-evaluating the past changes in an effort to make its services more “reliable.” The fare-setting policy has hurt business for the rideshare giant, but the changes are expected to upset drivers who liked the extra control over their work.
According to Harry Campbell, a Los Angeles Uber driver who runs the Rideshare Guy blog and podcast, “To make it work as a full-time driver, you have to be very strategic. Many drivers [previously] were shocked to find out they didn’t know where a passenger was going until they accepted the ride. When Uber added the destination features, it was a game-changer for a lot of drivers.” But passengers suffered from declining services.
Making destinations visible and prices adjustable resulted in some drivers only picking lucrative rides and declining other requests—resulting in passengers have issues getting rides. Uber reported that a third of its drivers in California refused more than 80 percent of their ride requests. Airports were the most affected. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, weekly completion rates for airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles are below 60 percent, which is lower than any other major airport in the United States.
With AB5 no longer affecting Uber since the passing of Proposition 22, the company does not need to worry about proving that drivers are independent contractors. So, it can reverse the fare-setting policy, which will, in theory, make it easier for passengers to get rides to and from their destinations.
It has yet to be announced if or when Uber will officially end the fare-setting policy it enacted a year ago. If the company does end the policy, passengers could experience shorter wait times and cheaper rides, but drivers will have less control over their work.
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