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RSDU Members Update, November 2017 – Uber & GoCatch

Members update regarding Uber recent driver app enhancements

Uber this week announced a number of welcomed driver app enhancements.

Among this round of enhancements:

  • A ‘No Thanks’ button that now shows on the driver app when a booking call comes in, enabling the driver to reject (up to three times) bookings without having to wait for the full 20sec call timeout, the system logs-off the drivers after three consecutive declines. We’ve noticed that the ‘No Thanks’ button doesn’t show at all times which may be due to the availability of other drivers in the area to take the trip call.
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  • Wait time fees charged to passengers. Applicable to uberX, uberXL, UberSELECT, UberASSIST, UberBLACK, and UberLUX (but not UberEATS or UberTAXI). After a driver been waiting for a rider for 2 minutes, a fee will be charged to the passenger for every minute driver continue to wait. After driver been waiting for 5 minutes, he/she can choose to cancel the trip and collect the normal cancellation fee or continue to wait. A rider cancellation fee will still only be charged after the driver waited for at least 5 minutes.
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  • New long trip notifications. A notification now pop up on the driver app when a long trip request comes in when the trip is long and estimated to take 45 minutes or more. If a driver wants to decline the trip than he/she can tap ‘No thanks’ and the trip request will be declined.
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  • New trip filter. Drivers can now use the trip filter (via ‘preferences’) to choose only uberX, or only UberEATS jobs.
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  • Uber in their email statement promised many more driver enhancements to come…

We are confident the changes Uber are now making to driver’s working conditions are a direct result of our FWO investigation efforts (which recently shifted into a higher gear) and Uber’s immediate need to highlight our status as “self-employed, contractors” (according to Uber), now given the chance to decline some trips.

The recent driver enhancements are also designed to tackle the increased competition from other operators, not to mention the endorsement the RSDU has given some of them recently.

Most of these recent and probably coming ‘enhancements’ made part of our submission to FWO. The absence of such options (at the time) highlighted our ‘sham contracted’, ’employee’ status, with hardly any say over any aspect of our work.

The RSDU is happy to see the latest driver enhancements Uber is now making, but rates increase must come NEXT.

We are committed to continuing our fight until Uber delivers sustainable base rates and enable drivers much more control over “their own businesses” (so to speak).

Drivers remember, only through unity can we achieve meaningful changes to the industry and protect our basic driver rights. Remain united and speak with one voice.

Max B., Head of RideShare Drivers United

 

Members update regarding GoCatch

Further to our previous communication informing members of a reduction to GoCatch base fares and apparent removal of peak times (without clearly informing drivers).

We also would like to bring to your attention the fact GoCatch are charging drivers $5.00 for cancellations, or/and pre-booked cancellations. We’ve included an excerpt from the GoCatch driver contract below.

Cancellations happen for many different reasons. It is the RSDU view that the booking system should be better designed to cope with them. Drivers should not be penalised for having a flat tyre or being on the wrong side of traffic, having to cancel after the pickup address is provided.

Major changes to fees and terms and conditions such as above should have been communicated to drivers well in advance. Many RSDU members drive for GoCatch, this is the first we are hearing of any ‘cancellation fees’ being charged to drivers, without any prior notice.

Drivers should not be discovering such changes to their Terms and Conditions after the fact, when doing their work in good faith only to discover being penalised.

We are also hearing more and more reports recently of drivers not being paid after completing fares. Mainly due to customer credit card issues or credit card fraud. This was never an issue with Uber, they would pay the fare to the driver regardless and take the issue with the passenger.

It’s the RSDU view that it is the operator’s responsibility to ensure successful processing of fare charges and pay the driver for the trip regardless of any failed processing issues. Any charge processing issues should be communicated to the driver immediately, during the trip or right at the end of it. Operator failing to pay drivers after they complete a trip is not acceptable!

We now feel the above-mentioned issues are very unfair to drivers and definitely not the ‘lead by example’ we’ve all hoped to see from GoCatch.

I for one will no longer be using the GoCatch booking service and advise all other drivers/members to do the same. GoCatch must demonstrate more responsibility, better and prompt pay, and fair working conditions before we can endorse the service again to our members. We expect Gocatch to immediately get rid of any cancellation fees charged to drivers as well as better inform drivers of major rate changes. Taking drivers by surprise is definitely NOT the way to go.

It is the RSDU opinion that for now, it is better to stick with the devil we all know. They at least pay for all fares, on time, and don’t charge any cancellation fees.

Max B., Head of Ride Share Drivers United.

 

Here is an excerpt from GoCatch driver’s contract (available at their website) about ‘cancellation fees’:

——- Start Gocatch cancellation fees contract excerpt——-

12. All Users must:
a. comply with all applicable laws and regulations. For the avoidance of doubt this includes Drivers obeying all traffic laws and regulations and the Passenger not inducing a Driver to breach laws or regulations;
b. follow reasonable instructions of the Driver to enable pick-up. For the avoidance of doubt a Driver cannot request a Passenger to breach a law or regulation;
c. treat each other with courtesy and respect;
d. not perform acts which may cause injury to other Users or damage to Registered Vehicles.
e. If a Driver:
i. Only accept a job if you are confident that you can complete it. Failure to complete an accepted job may result in a $5 non-completion fee.
ii. Do not abandon a job once you have accepted it unless absolutely necessary i.e. you are too far away from the pick up location and you have received a customer’s approval. Abandoning a job without customer approval may result in a $5 abandon fee.
iii. When you accept a job, always drive directly to the Passenger’s pick up location. Driving in an alternative direction or in a way that causes you to exceed the estimated time of arrival may result in the passenger cancelling the job and incur a $5 non-pickup fee.
iv. Do not talk on the phone, eat or use offensive language during a job.
v. Always be presentable, act professionally, and have good personal hygiene (this is a common Passenger complaint against some drivers). Failure to do so may result in a $5 hygiene/professional fee.
vi. You must only process in-app payments up to a maximum of $170.00 per job and a maximum job duration of 1 hour
vii. You must not process two transactions to exceed the $170 limit.
viii.All in-app payments must relate to a job that has been booked and GPS tracked via the GoCatch app.
1. Pre-payments are strictly prohibited
2. Processing a payment via the app for a job which has not been booked and tracked in app is strictly prohibited
ix. Any suspect transactions such as:
1. overnight jobs lasting more than 1 hour;
2. Passengers asking the Driver to wait for extended periods;
3. multiple trip destinations not entered via the app; or
4. large tips and /or offers to pay more than the metered fare,
must not be processed via the app and should be reported to GoCatch via support@gocatch.com.
x. Failure to follow the above fraud prevention rules will result in non payment of the fare by us to the Driver in our discretion.

——- End Gocatch cancellation fees contract excerpt——-

 

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