Uber ‘City Center’ Rides Will Pay More But There’s a Catch!

Uber is rolling out another program which I’m calling city center. In this video I’m going to share with you the details, what it is, where it’s going to be, and at the end of the video I’m going to share with you whether I think it’s a thumbs up or a thumbs down for drivers like you and me.

What is the new city center feature?

If you drive in the city center of the city that you’re in, you’ll get a 5% boost to your earnings. So it’s kind of like a surge. However, if you drive outside of your city center, you’ll face a 10% decrease in earnings. Head to your city center and know it’s busy times.

If you’re like me, and this is very reminiscent of when both Uber and Lyft told us that they were giving us a better pay structure and they were increasing the amount we would make per minute, but reducing the amount per mile. This is very eerie feeling just like that. But let’s continue.

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This is what Uber said: “We are testing raising prices near city centers where it’s busier and harder to get a ride while decreasing prices in surrounding areas, including in neighborhoods with fewer transportation options to help riders request more trips. The goal of this pilot is to improve reliability in the busiest parts of these cities while making it more affordable to use Uber outside the city center.”

This really begs the question, what are you defining as the city center

What should be your strategies if you’re in a market that has this feature?

You want to get to city center as much as you can because that’s where the rates are going to be higher. Problem is everybody’s going to be going to the city center because that’s where the rates are going to be higher. The city center typically has more traffic, more pedestrians, more stoplights, so you can’t drive fast.

Remember, we make the most money when we’re going 70 miles per hour on the freeway, racking up those miles. So that’s the real issue with this is even if you get to the city center, you’re going to get short trips, trips that, you know, could have a lot of traffic in them. The ideal scenario would be to be in the city center, set your destination filter for a long trip, like to the airport or to another city and hope that you can get a ride that will take you a long distance from the city center because then you’re going to get that 5% bonus.

What exactly is a city center? That will make the difference

This really comes down to what are they defining as the city center. If the city center is a small little area and that’s the only place you’re going to get the 5% bump and everything else is going to be a minus 10%, kind of like a penalty, then this is really not good. Not good at all.

I’ll show you a map of San Francisco. San Francisco is seven miles by seven miles, 49 square miles and it’s a surrounded by water on three sides and the city center is what I’ve got there highlighted in red. That’s what’s called a fidi, the financial district, the downtown area. However, you can get rides in San Francisco on this entire map all day long and if they are going to make that the city center and then everything else, which is the majority of my driving is all in all these other areas. I’m going to see a, basically, a 10% cut in pay, offset by the few rides that I get from the city center.

So much depends on how they’re defining the city center and we won’t really know that until we start to see some maps and we should see those over the next week and we’ll keep you updated on the status of what is defined as the city center.

Key Takeaways

I don’t like this feature! First of all, it’s forcing more people into the city center, which in my market is already really congested. More cars, that means you’re going to wait longer to get a ride at the 5% a surge price, more traffic. The city center, like I said, you got more pedestrians, you got to drive more carefully and you just can’t get any speed going because there’s so many lights. \

Uber is trying to get you to where more passengers are, but everything else outside of the city center is minus 10%, that’s not good. That’s significant. That means unless half of your business is in the city center, and half is outside of the city center, you’re still going to lose because the trips you got to do where the city center is are going to be slower trips and they’re going to be shorter trips.

Whereas the trips that are outside of the city center going into other towns, that’s where you got to get on the freeway. That’s where you’re going to be able to drive fast and that’s where you’re going to make the most money. But now those trips are all getting a minus 10% surge.

If they come out and the map for San Francisco is the entire seven by seven square miles, then I’ve basically seen a 5% pay raise. But why would Uber do that? Think what’s Uber thinking? Cut expenses. This is another, another plan for Uber to cut down how much they pay us drivers while also improving their service by having more cars available in the high demand small city center.

Thanks for watching. This is Jay Cradeur and I appreciate you being here and you go out and have a great day and be safe out there.



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