Saturday, August 01, 2015
Very little media coverage and unclear message reported by those that did bother to report something.
Asking TFL to regulate properly would have been like asking Saddam Hussein to support women's rights and do some charity work. Or like asking Boris Johnson to be honest.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
UBER'S FAKE CAR MAP TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK THEIR ARE CARS NEAR THEIR LOCATION
If you use Uber, you’ve seen the map that comes up when you want a ride. The map shows little car graphics hovering adorably around your location and the wait time for a pickup. Once you request a ride, you can watch a little car creep closer to your destination as you wait. It’s a marvel of technology! Except it’s bullshit.
Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark, researchers studying Uber’s user interaction, discovered that the map Uber shows passengers of its available local drivers isn’t very accurate/may be intentionally misleading. I know—Uber, doing something sketchy?! We inhabit a wild world. But read on:
Rosenblat interviewed Uber drivers as research, including an Uber driver “Heather” who noticed that the passenger map wasn’t showing correct information, and published an account on Motherboard:
When Heather asked an Uber Help staff member, however, she was told that the rider map was just a “screen saver.”
“The app is simply showing there are partners on the road at the time,” the staffer wrote in an email. “This is not a representation of the exact numbers of drivers or their location. This is more of a visual effect letting people know that partners are searching for fares.”
“I know this seems a misleading to you but it is meant as more of a visual effect more than an accurate location of drivers in the area. It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer.”
A screen saver on a computer! What a fantastic excuse. The next time anyone tells me, “Kate, the blog post you wrote is bad and you are bad,” I am going to say, “It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer.” Ditto for if I accidentally make a seXXXt-tweet, Anthony Weiner style. “Excuse me. It is just a screen saver on a computer my friends, carry on.”
There are two different maps that Uber drivers can see: The driver map, which shows where people are requesting rides, and the passenger version, which ostensibly shows passengers where cars are but is apparently a screen saver on a computer.
Since Uber drivers have access to the driver app map as well as the passenger version, they can check the discrepancy between the two. Drivers have been wondering about why Uber puts “phantom” or “ghost” cars on passengers’ maps for a while. In one of many driver forum threads about the “ghost cars,” a driver said that Uber claimed it was just a technical issue:
This came up in our weekly virtual Uber webinar. They claim this is a new technical issue and are looking into it. Yeah, just like the ETA’s doubling after accepting it. Funny how all these ‘technical issues’ work in Uber’s favor and against drivers.
Another driver suspects that Uber was putting their car on the passenger map, even when they were signed out and not working as a driver:
When I logged onto the rider app lat night it showed a car parked right in front of my building. It had to have been my car and I was not logged on as a driver. The ghost car was almost exactly where my car was parked. CREEPY
When Rosenblat asked about the issue, however, an Uber representative gave a very different answer:
“The map is as accurate as possible in the close vicinity of your location,” the representative wrote.
Other drivers haven’t been buying that, because they’re not stupid:
And now that this research corroborates suspicions that Uber is manipulating its passenger maps to make it look like there are more drivers, more Uber drivers are noticing:
Uber have been asked for clarification on its map/screen saver. I don’t know if we’ll get a straight answer about this, but there is a good reason why Uber would want to manipulate its passenger map results: When you open the app and see a bunch of available cars nearby, it makes it seem like it’s definitely the quickest way to get a ride, which makes Uber seem more attractive. But it's just a lie.
More Uber Myths:
Uber recently boasted that that had achieved 369% growth.Thruth is they spent $885m to get $415 back in revenue.
Last year, when London Taxis drivers went protested about Uber's operation and TfLs woeful inadequacy, Uber boasted an increase in app downloads of 800%. Yet they only moved up 2 places on the App Store league table, from 56 to 54.
App-based minicab service Uber is facing legal action over claims it is failing to provide basic rights to its drivers.
The GMB union will challenge the company's claim that its workers are partners rather than employees.
The union says Uber is breaching its duty on pay, holidays, and health and safety.
The firm says making drivers employees would mean losing their flexibility, which makes the job appealing.
'Substantial pay outs'
GMB, the union which represents professional drivers, has instructed the law firm Leigh Day to take action on behalf of members driving for Uber.
Nigel Mackay from the firm believes legal action could result in "substantial pay outs" for drivers: "We believe that it's clear from the way Uber operates that it owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other employer does to its workers," he said.
"In particular, its drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave."
The GMB's Steve Garelick said: "Operators like Uber must understand that they have an ethical and social policy that matches society's expectations of fair and honest treatment."
Uber describes itself as a "pick-up" service that connects those needing a ride with a background-checked private driver, and takes a cut - typically 20% - of the fee.
In May, Transport for London reported the number of private hire vehicle licences had risen from 52,000 to 77,000 over the previous 12 months, and most of that increase down to new Uber drivers.
Legal action in the UK comes just weeks after a California court ruled a driver for Uber was an employee, not a contractor. Uber insisted the ruling only applied to the individual driver making the claim and said it would appeal the ruling. Classifying Uber drivers as employees would severely dent Uber's profits and likely lower its $40bn (£25.62bn) valuation.
Nigel Mackay went on yo say, it was time Uber took "responsibility" for its drivers and treated them as any other employer does.
"A successful legal action against Uber could see substantial pay outs for drivers, including compensation for past failures by the company to make appropriate payments to who we argue are their workers," he said