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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How Uber in Singapore Is Screwing With Drivers – #1  Why Drivers Have No Pings

How Uber in Singapore Is Screwing With Drivers – #1 Why Drivers Have No Pings

Fellow drivers in Singapore, have you been in these situations before?

  • No pings / have to wait for more than five to eight minutes for pings even though you are in high demand or surge areas (red zone)
  • Over a period of one, two or three weeks, you keep receiving passengers going to roughly the same areas eg, Jurong West, Punggol, Marine Parade?
  • Some of you may have even tried, having your friend sitting right beside you and try to book an Uber (this is technically against Uber’s T&C but I know we have all tried this)  but the booking is assigned to other drivers instead of you?
  • You are waiting at Changi Airport and a fellow Uber driver who joins the queue a few minutes after you gets a ping first?

I may have a simple deduction for this. Again, refer to my home page that my deduction is not based on hard data but on my driving experience.

Whenever the situations described above happens, we begin to panic a little bit.  Wondering whether is our mobile network working or did the Uber app hang (I have experienced this a few times). Some of us will reset the Location function on our mobile phone, reset the Uber app or even restart our phone.

Possible Explanation

There may be a possible reason for this. It is how Uber’s algorithm assigns the bookings. During the orientation when we sign up to be Uber drivers, they categorically said that Uber will assign the nearest available driver to the passenger. This is what they tell passengers also, assuring passengers that wait time is minimized.

We can clearly debunk this statement just based on the experiment that some drivers have tried, with their friends sitting just beside them making a booking. How much nearer can you get?

My theory is that Uber wants you to specialize in certain areas. I reckon, by their logic, if you keep going back to the same areas, you will be familiar and know the area better. This will translate to better rider experience because if you keep going back to the same areas, you will know the shortcuts, traffic conditions of those areas. Thus, passengers can get to their locations faster.

From  my experience, there was a period of time that I was “assigned” Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands and Jurong West area for about 3 weeks. Regardless of where I start my driving, I kept getting passengers going to these area. Even after I dropped my passenger at these locations, turn off my Uber app and drive back to town, I was assigned passengers going back to these area.

Is It Good For Drivers?

There are pros and cons to this. The good thing is that, as mentioned, by knowing the area better, drivers are able to pick-up and drop-off passengers faster.

Another good thing is that, in my case, when I go to town during surge pricing, I get high fares when I send them to Woodlands, Choa Chu Kang or Jurong West.

The disadvantage of this is that you may have to wait longer for Uber to assign you jobs for passengers going to your “assigned” areas. Once, on a Sunday I had to drive slowly from Bishan to Holland Village before I get a passenger going to Choa Chu Kang.

The main disadvantage is, at night or the wee hours of the morning, if you are assigned to what I call the Dead Zone of Woodlands, Choa Chu Kang  and Jurong West, drivers you will end up with no passengers or low fare trips after you drop off your rider.

Is It Fair?

Fellow Uber drivers in Singapore, what do you think? I would love to hear your opinions on this. Leave a comment or you can email me

For your information, currently I am assigned Hougang, Punggol, Marine Parade and Holland Road areas.

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Dealing with Uber’s Customer Service Officers is a nightmare

Dealing with Uber’s Customer Service Officers is a nightmare

Most of us has experienced how frustrating it is dealing with the CSO from Uber.
Their unhelpful, standard template and robotic answers just increases your blood pressure.
It does not help when you have a gut feeling that they CSOs do not have any driving experience. Thus, they don’t seem to understand the difficulties Uber drivers faced on the roads. Below is one of my experience dealing with them.

Carpark with no grace period
The pick-up location was in a carpark of a commercial building. When I reached the carpark, there is a sign that said “No Grace Period” at the gantry and it has a per entry charge. After I completed the trip, I wrote it so say that it is only fair that the I am compensated for the carpark fee. At that point of time, there was no way for me to know that there is no grace period until I reached the gantry. There were also 3 other cars behind me, queuing to get into the carpark, hence I could not reverse out. I explained all that to the CSO.

Their reply was Uber will only reimburse parking if my rider agree to pay for it and the CSO asked me do I have this agreement with the rider. I replied back how does she suggest I have an agreement with the rider and again she gave me a robotic answer again. At this point, I knew that it was pointless arguing. Just see my comment in the screen shot. Silence after that.

I am sure my fellow drivers out there have their own interesting stories with Uber CSOs.
Feel free to share!

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