Uber watch

Uber is facing a number of threats that  jeopardize its ability to survive. The CA legislature has passed a law that requires the company (as well as many other businesses) to reclassify their contractors as employees and provide them with benefits they offer other employees. While this law may be misguided, it shows how vulnerable Uber is to the legislatures and governments across the country, the same governments that Uber has tricked and taken for a ride in the past with all of their deception.

While Uber may not suddenly go out of business, I got a peak at how things might start to crumble from the inside out. A friend who is a part time Uber driver reported something that has never happened to him in his more than one year of driving:

Suddenly, I am seeing errors in pickup locations by the Uber app. I had two last night. They range in distance of 500-2000 feet. Had a big one in Bayonne and another in Jersey City shopping center parking lot. I believe there were others, but these are the two that come to mind.

Is this possible app sabotage from disgruntled employees, or, poor Q&A because there are less qualified Uber employees scrubbing the data? I don’t remember seeing something like this even three months ago. Another incident last night was in the Heights in Jersey City.

I had a “pool pickup” request from a passenger named Carlos. I notified him I had arrived, but a second later he cancelled. Seconds later after that I had a second request in the pool. But although Carlos canceled, the app never really cancelled his trip. It remained in my route directions till I told the app that I dropped Carlos off, although he never entered the car. I confirmed Carlos ended his trip in Hoboken, right after I picked up the second passenger (a fella named Dima), who was going locally in Hoboken. Found this very strange and never had seen this before. Once Carlos cancelled, there should have been no routing for him in the app. I will now be watching for these incongruities going forward. 

We’ve come to take for granted that Uber just works, even with its occasional sketchy drivers. But is this experience is any indication, it could be starting to crumble from the inside, or then again just be a fluke. We’ll be watching.


by Phil Baker