How Drivers Can Benefit From UberCLUB

How Drivers Can Benefit From UberCLUB

What Is UberCLUB

Overview

Uber In Singapore launched UberCLUB,  a new incentive scheme for their drivers, stating on 4 September 2017. There is 2 components to the scheme, Firstly, based on your Lifetime Trips, ie, how many trips you have made in total, you will be classified as either  Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum driver. The second component is the Net Earnings Guarantee for 100 or 125 trips for the various driver classifications.

Uber Trooper Singapore - UberCLUB scheme

Uber Trooper Singapore – UberCLUB scheme

I find this an interesting scheme because it allows drivers to potentially drive less and earn more. Plus it can be quite stress free.

Throughout this article, we will use assume that driver is on Bronze tier and going for 100 trips Why Bronze tier? This is the most basic tier and also I believe this article will be more beneficial to the newer drivers than the senior drivers. This scheme may not be beneficial to senior or “hardcore” drivers and I will explain why later.

Let us dive deeper into this

Net Earnings Guarantee

Drivers have to note that this guarantee is not a an addition to your fare earnings. It is just a top-up to your earnings and incentives. For instance, if after 100 trips for the week, your net fare earnings is $900 and incentive is $100,  Uber will top-up $100 so that your Net Earnings is $1, 100. If your fare earnings for the 100 trips is $1, 200, there will be no to-up from Uber.

Net Earnings Per Trip

So for the Bronze tier at 100 trips, $1, 100 Net Earnings. This works out to be an average of $11 net per trip.

Your Strategy

For drivers going for this scheme, your primary objective is to complete the 100 trips as fast as possible. Remember that you want to more short trips so than you can save petrol and also minimize your hours on the road.

Avoid Morning Peak Hours

For this scheme, drivers do not have to chase for boost or surge. Remember, the average net fare per trip is $11. If your fare is higher than this, anything above $11 is used to “subsidize” your other trips.

Why avoid morning peak hours? Well, due to traffic conditions, on average, you can only do 2 trips per hour. If you are lucky 3 trips per hour. If you are unlucky, 1 trip per hour only. And if you do get a trip to CBD in the morning, you may need to drive to the fringes of CBD for your next trip and this takes up time.

UberPool

As much as I can to avoid this, unfortunately, UberPool is one way to quickly scale up your trip count. You can find read in other Facebook groups on how drivers try to get a matched UberPool trip. I will not dwell on this further.

The good thing is that this week is the school holiday break, so usually there will be more UberPool requests.

Lunch Crowd

This is a good set of riders you can target because usually the trips are to nearby eateries or shopping malls. Smart drivers will know where to go to target this lunch crowd.  So within the 2 hours, you may be able to get 5 to 6 trips. Over 5 days, that is at least 25 trips

Evening Crowd

This is the time where you need to work your ass off. Again, I must emphasize that you are not going for surge, boost or long trips. Avoid going to CBD during the evening peak because of the traffic to get to your pick-up location and also to get out of it.

Go to the heartland areas and target places such as MRT stations and shopping malls. The trips here are usually what I call “last mile journey”. They are short trips that riders take to home. And more often than not, after promo codes, riders pay only $1 or $2.

An air-conditioned car all to themselves is much more appealing than taking a feeder bus home at a fraction of the cost more!

Set Destination

This is a “hack” that was shared with me recently by a fellow Uber driver. I will not reveal too much on this. Hey! Part of the fun is discovering new things yourself right? Play around with the Set Destination function and you may get 3 to 5 trips each time. That is at least 6 trips a day. Have fun!

Above are just some recommendations for those going for UberCLUB. I am sure experienced Uber drivers have more tricks up their sleeves

Is UberCLUB really good?

For 100 trips, you roughly need to drive about 7 to 8 hours a day for 6 days, 1 off day.
For 125 trips, it is about 9 to 10 hours a day, 1 off day.

Lets do the maths now. Below is an example of how I derive the Net Income

For the lowest tier of Bronze driver with 100 trips,

Net Guarantee Earning  : $1, 100
Minus rental                     : -$420 ($60 x 7)
Minus Petrol                     : -$100
Net Income  1 week         : $580
Net income 4 weeks        : $2, 330

For the highest tier of Platinum driver with 125 trips,

Net Guarantee Earning  : $1, 700
Minus rental                     : -$420 ($60 x 7)
Minus Petrol                     : -$120
Net Income 1 week          : $1, 160
Net income 4 weeks        : $4, 640

(These are just rough estimates of driving hours, daily car rental cost and petrol It may vary for every driver)

To simplify things :

Bronze tier net income

100 trips : $580 weekly, $2, 320 monthly
125 trips : $860 weekly, $3, 440 monthly

Platinum tier net income

100 trips : $880 weekly, $3, 520 monthy
125 trips : $1, 160 weekly, $4, 640 monthly

So there you have it! hope this will help you to decide whether  UberCLUB is worth aiming for.

One of the intangible benefit is that your drive is stress-free as you don’t have to worry about surge or boost areas! You also can avoid congested peak hour areas.

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A Tale Of 3 Boyfriends

A Tale Of 3 Boyfriends

Throughout my experience driving Uber in Singapore, I had my fair share of rude riders, polite passengers, good conversationalists and the drunkards that would not shut up. Drivers just have to accept that they will meet passengers with different characters. Let me share about 3 of my trips on how boyfriends treat their partners.

Uber Trooper Singapore - Boyfriends' Behaviour

Uber Trooper Singapore : Tale Of 3 Boyfriends

The Bodyguard Boyfriend

It was a Sunday around midnight and I was finishing up for the day. Picked up this couple from Plaza Singapura. I started the trip and saw the destination is Woodlands! First thing that came to my mind was, oh great! It will be a long and lonely ride home for me after I dropped them at Woodlands.

After dropping them off at the destination, I was prepared for loud music blasting from my radio to accompany me home. Then a ping came in. It was the same guy that I dropped off 2 minutes earlier.

He walked his girlfriend up to her house to ensure she reached home safely. Now, he was heading home to Pasir Ris. I salute and my respect to him for being a gentleman. From Orchard to Woodlands and then to Pasir Ris. His total fare was close to $50. (I was doubly happy because Pasir Ris is nearer to my home than Woodlands)

The Obedient Boy

Again, it was around midnight on a Saturday. Picked a rider at Robertson Quay. He is about 20 – 22 years old and he looked very normal and sober when he got in the car. Shortly after driving off, he asked me if I had any water in the car. i told him that I only had a new bottle of Milo and he offered it to him. He said it was ok and then called someone on his mobile.

From the snippets of his conversation that I could hear, he was just having a few drinks with mates after his part-time job. Then the girlfriend called and was not happy about this.

Then he uttered this killer line, “The moment you said that you were not happy, I quickly told my friends i had to go and immediately booked an Uber. Less than 7 minutes and I am already in the car.”

Fwwaaahhhhh…..WIN!!!!

After that it seemed that his girlfriend was still nagging or unhappy with him. Then he said he could not talk now and would call when he reached home. He felt like throwing up.

Whaaattt!!!!……That was when my antenna was on high alert. He asked me whether can he get down the car. We were on the PIE, I can’t drop him here. I wound down the windows and gave him 2 plastic bags. Drove about 70km/h and did my best to minimize braking and acceleration.

Thankfully we reached his home without any incident. Phew!

Coincidentally, this gentleman is also staying at Pasir Ris.

The Massage Boy

It was a slow night around 1 a.m on Monday at Sengkang. Wanted to go offline as I knew most of the fares would be low in that area around that time. Then a ping came in. When I arrived, the guy was hugging and kissing his girlfriend (or so I thought) . From what i saw from a distance, the girlfriend looked quite pretty. He hopped into the car  off we went. He spoke with an accent and I found out he is ABC.

When I started the trip, to my delight, he was heading to Holland Road! i was going to stay over at my girlfriend’s house, which is around that area. Yesssss! All is good!

5 minutes into the journey, he asked me if I knew of any massage parlours that are open at that time which was along the way. I said there may be some that are open along Upper Serangoon or Serangoon Road. Then he asked, are the masseuse female? From then, I could gather what he had in mind already. He asked me to stop the trip on the app and he would pay me $20 cash to bring me to the massage place.

I have to add that we drivers are not your moral police. I told him I would drop him to a massage place around Jalan Besar. Then he started googling on his mobile. He kept asking me are you sure there are massage parlours in Jalan Besar, is it nearby, it is good etc… i said I have never been there so I can’t comment.  One thing for sure is I know they are open.

After a while, I thought Jalan Besar may not be a good place for him because he could not speak Mandarin and may have problems communicating. Or worse, they might try to rip him off. So I told him I will take him to Orchard Plaza instead. Again he started googling and throughout the journey he kept asking the same annoying questions over and over. He said that he had stayed near Somerset for 2 months and have never seen any massage parlour before, Kept asking me am I sure there are massage parlours there, yadda yadda yadda….

We were reaching Orchard Point and I could’t take his nonsense anymore. I just told him, “Fuck you! Can you shut the fuck up? I am going to drop you off in 50 metres and you can explore in the building yourself.”

After I dropped him, I was thinking, he just left his girlfriend and immediately he was up to his monkey business. *tsk tsk*

Not All Monkeys Are The Same

So there you have it. 3 boyfriends and how they treated their girlfriends. In this instance, the result is Local Boyfriend 2 : Foreign Boyfriend 1

(Result is not representative and inconclusive due to small sample size)

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Rider Ratings Are More Accurate Than Driver Ratings

Rider Ratings Are More Accurate Than Driver Ratings

For all Uber riders and drivers in Singapore, there is a 2-way rating system where riders and drivers can rate each other.

Lets see how useful are these rating. Before we continue any further, please not this important point.  All drivers must rate their riders after each trip. For riders, it is optional whether they want to leave a rating for their drivers.  I will share why this is important later.

From Drivers’ Perspective

When a driver accepts a ping,  generally his/her natural thought process will be to see where is the pick-up location,  is there a surge pricing, is it UberPool or UberX  booking,  how far and how to to get to the pick-up location.  The rider’s ratings is usually one of the last things that drivers look at.

Drivers will only look at ratings if they have time (non-busy period), stuck in traffic on the way to the pick-up location or if the pick-up location are in “suspect” areas.  Other than that, drivers will just accept the ping and head to the pick-up location. Drivers usually won’t cancel the booing unless they notice that the rider’s rating is suspiciously low eg. below 4.

From Riders’ Perspective

There isn’t any hard or anecdotal evidence but I feel that rider’s will not cancel any booking if the driver does not have a high rating.  To riders, what is important is the fare for the ride. If they feel that they fare is reasonable, they will not cancel.

Riders will only cancel if they find a cheaper alternative or the arrival of the ride is too long.

How Accurate Are The Ratings?

Driver’s Rating

This brings us to the important point I made at the beginning, for riders it is optional for them to leave a rating for their drivers. From experience, less than 50% of riders actually rate their trip. They just can’t be bothered to leave a rating unless the trip was exceptional or they are not happy with the ride such as condition of the car, the driver was rude or poor route taken.

5 Star Uber Trooper Singapore

Driver’s Rating For Uber Trooper Singapore

Now this is where the fun begins for Driver’s Rating. For your information, driver’s ratings is calculated by  Total of all your ratings / Total number of ratings.

For illustration, we have Joe, a top notch Uber driver and he did 50 trips.  Below are 2 scenarios. Scenario 1 is all his riders rated him. Scenario 2 is only 12 out of his 50 riders rated their rides.

Uber trooper Singapore All Rides Rated

Scenario 1 : All trips are rated by riders

Uber Trooper Singapore 12 rides rated

Scenario 2 : Only 12 rides are rated

As you can see, Joe is a very good Uber driver-partner with a rating of 4.8 if all his rides are rated. However, his ratings lowered when only some of his rides are rated.  So as you can see, sometimes, driver’s rating might not be a true reflection.

(I must add that mathematically, if he only had one 1-Star rating, his ratings will increase over time as more riders leave higher ratings)

Rider’s Rating

On the other hand, for riders, since drivers have to rate them after every trip, their ratings are fairly accurate.  After every trip, if there are no incidents between the driver and the rider, drivers will generally give the rider a 5 Star rating and move on to their next trip. There is no incentive/motivation  for the driver to give you a 1-Star rating unless you are rude or unreasonable.

So there you have it. If you have a low rider’s ratings, it is time for some self-reflection. So many drivers can’t be wrong in giving you low ratings. You can read my post about  7 Things Uber Drivers Appreciate to help you improve your ratings.

Best Comment I Have Seen

To end off, I like to share the best comment given to a fellow Uber Trooper. It goes to show
that drivers go beyond their call of duty of ferrying you from one location to another.

Uber Trooper Singapore Best Comment

Best Comment Received by fellow Uber Trooper. Credits to Salem

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Mums The Word

Mums The Word

Since today is Mother’s Day in Singapore, let me write about mums. No, I am not talking about the one female who brought you to this world with unconditional love. I meant Uber passengers in Singapore, whom I rather keep mum. Below is the definition of mum.

mum1
adjective
adjective: mum
  1. silent.
    synonyms: silent, quiet, mute, dumb, tight-lipped, close-mouthed, uncommunicative, unforthcoming, reticent, secretive;

    archaicmumchance
    “he was keeping mum about his future plans”
Origin
late Middle English: imitative of a sound made with closed lips.

Same Old Story

Don’t you get the same questions below repeatedly from your Uber passengers in Singapore?
– How is business?
– Can you make money driving for Uber?
– Are you driving full-time or part-time?
– Is this your own car or rented car?
– How long have you been driving for?
– Why you never drive for Grab? (seriously, why do you care?)
– Driving for Uber or Grab better? 
– Tonight should be busy night?
Uber Trooper Singapore Mums The Word

Sometimes you wish to do this to your passengers.

It’s A Lonely World

Driving Uber can be lonely. Your constant companions are the radio, your Whatsapp chat messages and the occasional SMS texts from Uber/LCR telling you about their fantastic referral scheme.

Don’t get me wrong. As drivers, we love to engage with our passengers. But can you imagine, after spending long hours on the road, you are feeling tired and you have to listen and answer the same questions over and over again with a smile? If you don’t answer their mundane, they will perceive you as unfriendly and will give you a bad rating.

Keep It Lively

Drivers usually wait for passengers to initiate the conversation. They understand that passengers sometimes want some peace and quiet. If you, as passengers, want to start a conversation, please stop asking the same boring questions. If not, drivers will just give you standard template answers. 🙁

To all mothers out there, Happy Mothers’ Day. Drivers, if you see mothers alone with their kids, always give them a helping hand with their prams and bags. It is tough being a mother and I am sure they appreciate your gesture.

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Why Riders Should Appreciate Uber In Singapore

Why Riders Should Appreciate Uber In Singapore

Despite all the angst, rantings and complains on social media by riders, I feel that many of us have forgotten what it was like less than 3 to 5 years ago. Although private hire cars such as Uber is the new normal in Singapore now, in the not too distant past, things was not that rosy for passengers.

Uber Trooper Driving In Singapore

Why Riders Should Appreciate Uber In Singapore

Waiting & Calling Frustration

Most of you would remember how difficult to get a taxi in the morning and evening peak periods last time. You would be standing on the streets and jostling with other people for “prime” spots to get a taxi. If you decide to make a phone booking, you would be lucky if your call was connected and you were not put on hold. (COMFORT did improve their system by having a a booking app. However, I had to try booking many times as there were no drivers available).

It the late afternoon, often we had to haggle with taxi drivers because most of them are changing shift.  In the bewitching hours between 11 pm to 12 midnight, count yourself lucky if you can get a cab on the road. Most taxi drivers are either waiting for call bookings or waiting for the midnight charge to start.

At Your Doorstep

Now, you can literally get a ride within minutes at your doorstep. The average arrival time is about 5 minutes. Maximum 10 minutes tops. Your booking is done through the app and completed in less than 1 minute.

Affordable fares

With the ongoing various options,  competition and increased supply in the market, this has resulted in lower fares generally. What you were paying $20 back then, would cost you about $15 now. For those taking rides from the airport or after midnight, you save on the airport and midnight surcharges. Double joy for those who book an Uber at the airport after midnight!

Still there are passengers who complain about the high fares during surge pricing. Remember, out of 10 rides that you made, you would have probably saved quite a bit for 7 rides as compared to taking normal taxis. You would have probably enjoyed perks such as promo codes. So stop whining if you have to pay a bit more for the 3 rides!

Multiple Destinations

Unlike its competitor, Uber does not charge an additional fee for multiple stops. You are only charged for the additional distance travelled for the stops. You don’t have to argue with the driver whether the additional stop is along the way, within 5km or more than 5km from your drop-off point. (Do note that Uber drivers are not obliged to agree to multiple stops. It helps if you ask nicely and let them know early.)

Every Booking Is A Surprise To Drivers

When  a booking comes in, an Uber driver cannot see the destination of the booking. The driver can only see the name, ratings and pick-up location. We do not know the fare and the drop-off location.  The driver will only know the drop-off destination once the trip is started. This system benefits the passengers as drivers cannot cherry pick passengers. For Uber’s competitor, the drivers can see the fare and the drop-off location.  Do you think they are more likely to reject bookings that are for short distance or to remote areas?

Uber Started The Evolution

With Uber’s brand recognition and presence overseas, this has helped the authorities and the public to accept the concept of private hire car community in Singapore. With such a big brand making headlines abroad, Singapore as a modern city, cannot be seem to be afraid of the new tech economy. This caused  seismic change in the whole transportation landscape where you as consumers benefit.

So before you rant any further on Facebook, Stomp, ASS about your Uber ride, please imagine if Uber did not exist.

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How Uber in Singapore is Screwing With Drivers – #2 Upfront Pricing & Actual Fare

How Uber in Singapore is Screwing With Drivers – #2 Upfront Pricing & Actual Fare

I was doing my research for my next blog “Uberpool or Uber Fool” when I came across something interesting on Uber Singapore’s website. Before I go any further, for the benefit of all drivers, below is how Uber calculates a fare. (This is for UberX only)

Uber X Fare Calculator - Uber trooper

UberX fare calculator for Singapore

Alarm Bells

A couple of personal experiences triggered the alarm bells.

Uber Trooper Singapore

What Uber Riders Pay May Not Be What Uber Drivers Earn

  1.  Once I took a matched UberPool trip from Duxton and Club Street. Both were going to Yishun. There was a surge of between 1.3x – 1.5x. Both paid by cash and the fare was about $20 each (before Uber’s 20% commission). {edit 29/4/17 : it should be 30% before Uber’s commission. I was sleepy when I first wrote this}  On another day, I took another matched UberPool trip from roughly the same area to Yishun, with similar surge pricing. Both payments were by card and my total fare is only about $26 (before Uber’s 20% commission) {edit 29/4/17 : it should be before  30% Uber’s commission}
  2. I had a passenger before was curious to know how much do drivers get from the fare. She said that from her fare of $18, how much would I get? After her trip, I checked my fare and it was only $16.
  3. Drivers, have you ever wondered with all the technology that Uber has and with riders knowing their fares in advance, why does it takes a couple of minutes for you to check the fare in your driver app after you have ended our trip?(to be fair, maybe the system is calculating,whether there was a wide deviation in the actual mileage travelled)
  4. Recently i came across this article . In summary, it said  , “When a rider uses Uber’s app to hail a ride, the fare the app immediately shows to the passenger is based on a slower and longer route compared to the one displayed to the driver. The software displays a quicker, shorter route for the driver. But the rider pays the higher fee, and the driver’s commission is paid from the cheaper, faster route…”

The Digging Starts

So I started to search Uber Singapore’s website on their T & C and fare calculation and I came across this with regards to upfront pricing.

Uber Trooper Singapore - Upfront Pricing

Uber’s Policy on Upfront Pricing

The key thing to note here is ,“…the amount that the rider pays for a trip will not always be the same as the amount that you take home…”

This solves one puzzle. Whenever you write in to CSO for fare adjustments, ERP toll, Sentosa entrance fee, etc… I always wondered where this money come from as they don’t  ask from the rider. Now you know where the secret treasure chest is!

So now as drivers, we are being shortchanged.  Uber says that drivers are its partners as it values the partnership. Certainly, this is not a way to treat your partner!

My grouse with Uber is that they have not been very transparent with their fare calculations. In the trip history, why can’t they break down the fare to indicate the normal fare, surge multiplier and amount, the boost multiplier and amount? It does not require a lot of coding to reconfigure this in the driver app. I have been searching the internet on how UberPool’s pricing formula. If you find it please drop me a line here

To end this, if possible, after you finished your trip, for your passengers that are paying by card, ask them what was their fare. Then check the amount against your trip history. Is there a difference?

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