I have to give it to Uber. Just when you thought, they couldn’t stoop lower any further, they decide to go even lower.
UberComfort opened up in over 40 markets today on the Uber app. While it is nice to be able to get some extra leg room, tell your driver to essentially shut up because they talk too much, it is clearly a scam.
When I say scam in this case, it is not like Tryp, where give money and get nothing in return. In return, you get a vehicle that is max 5 years old, so it should be in good condition (emphasize on should, as a part time driver, I put on 50,000 miles a year on a car, 5 years, means 250,000 miles) Anyhow, why do I say it is a scam?
Well, for starters, as a rider, you are charged on average (quoting from Uber) 20-30% more. Well, that is fine right? You are ordering a better car. The driver gets paid more right? Yes and no.
In Houston at least, the driver gets paid just 4 cents more a mile for a UberComfort ride. Sure 4 cents adds up, but in Houston, this comes out to roughly a little bit over 6 percent added to the total fare. As a rider, you just paid 20-30% more. This means, Uber just pocketed 14-24% of the fare! Does the means to add a UberComfort option justify Uber taking that much of a percentage?
Yes, I get it, you get a better ride. However, you decided as a rider, that Uber is a great service. There is a mutual understanding between both rider and driver that if you are cold or hot, or don’t feel like talking, we will accommodate your needs. No need to pay extra. Why? If you told a driver, Hey I am freezing, and that driver said, screw you. Guess what? You are rating that driver lower. If you want more leg room, you know you can always simply ask the driver to scoot the seat up. You honestly, do not need to pay extra for this.
Of course, we have our bad apples that will refuse to accommodate any of your needs/wants. But, these drivers also carry ratings less than 4.9 (4.85 is the qualification for UberComfort.) When you request a ride, you see this rating. Generally it is not hard for us to maintain a 4.9. Anything below that, you have to question if you really want to get in. Most riders are well aware of the fact that if you cancel within the first 2 minutes, you will not be charged a fee. Then you can request again, and hopefully a better driver comes. Do you really need to pay 30% more for this option? Generally, you know if a car is too small or not. If you see a Kia Forte and you are 6’2. You can still cancel within 2 minutes, without incurring a cancellation fee. Of course, if you are 6’2, you are likely ordering an XL anyways, which is probably the same or cheaper than a UberComfort.
Back when I started 5 years ago, Uber took a flat rate of 20% from the fare. This is all they needed. That was fair. Now UberComfort will be taking an 14-24% from the fare. Basically, when you order a UberComfort, Uber is pocketing 34-44% of the fare. That is outrageous. All they have to do is maintain an app that has already been made while they were charging 20%. Uber is being really greedy with this. There is no way a driver can turn of UberComfort without turning off UberX rides. If you find, UberComforts are lacking in your city, it is likely that drivers in your city are standing up for themselves.
What should you do?
If your really need extra space, order an UberXL. This pays drivers 14-24% more and won’t cost you a buck extra. If you really want all star service, order an UberBlack (Although this is pricey, but a lot more of the fare will be going to the driver) UberSelect is really hit or miss with the level of customer service, but you will get a nicer car and the driver is receiving more of your fare.
Remember, the ratings truly matter. I took a Uber ride once with a 4.7 and I was pretty scared of the way he was driving. For the most part, if you hold out for a 4.9 or above driver, you will get a clean car. One that has enough leg room for the average rider, and most importantly, someone who cares about their rating enough that they will accommodate you with climate control, getting that seat scooted up. Talking or not talking. After all, majority of riders loved them enough to give them a 5 star rating! If you order an UberX and you feel like their service was on a UberComfort level, keep that in mind, when you rate them and the app asks you to leave a tip!