Local UberX Driver Says Working for Company Is a Rip-Off

Categories: Business

uberx_press_shot.jpg
Courtesy of Uber
Editor's Note: After this post was first published this morning, a spokesperson for UberX contacted Riptide and said the company does not have a driver registered under the name Jahrvone Bentley. Riptide got in touch with Bentley, who claimed he was using a pseudonym out of fear of reprisal from the company; Riptide guaranteed Bentley's anonymity and asked for documentation confirming that he is in fact an UberX driver. Bentley provided it.

When Miami native Jahrvone Bentley heard UberX was coming to his city, he thought driving for the company would be a good way to earn some cash.

Three weeks later he's disgusted. "They don't care about the drivers," he tells Riptide. "The drivers are losing."

UberX is a division of the popular San Francisco startup Uber, an app-based cab-like service that uses professional drivers in sleek black cars. But UberX functions in a way similar to ride-sharing, allowing the app users to book rides on the cheap from people who aren't licensed cabbies but have registered to work as drivers for the company.

See also: UberX Will Launch in Miami Today, Defying Miami-Dade's Taxi Laws

In very public defiance of local officials, who say the company illegally undercuts licensed local cab drivers, UberX launched in Miami June 4. (Uber's other services, Uber Black and Uber Taxi, so far remain unavailable in the Magic City.)

Before the launch, Bentley saw advertisements saying UberX drivers were wanted. Enticed by promotions that he says promised drivers could earn upward of $1,000 per week, he signed up and started driving on the launch date.

But his experience with the company has been a disaster. UberX doesn't allow its customers to tip, but Bentley has been disillusioned by the company's practice of taking an additional 20 percent cut from the fares. UberX sends drivers alerts via iPhone for customers to pick up, but because there's no way in advance to know how far the customer wants to go, Bentley says, he's often ended up spending more on gas than he earned from the fare.

"You get to Coconut Grove," he says, "you might be taking that person one block away."

Worse, he says, the company actually encourages the inefficiency through text messages suggesting drivers visit specific locations that often don't pan out. "It's a very deceitful practice," he says. "When we get out there, there's nobody."

Bentley also says that the company refused to reimburse him for a cleaning fee after a woman spilled a bowl of alcohol in his back seat, because he hadn't submitted the right paperwork, and that once his electronic dashboard tally, which counts the number of trips he's completed, was mysteriously reduced by 20 percent.

"My money literally disappeared when I came home," he says. "And I was really upset because I worked for that."

After driving four long days a week -- sometimes 18 hours a day -- Bentley says his official earnings are recorded around $1,700. After expenses and UberX's fees, he says it's more like $450. "After all, I really only make 25 to 30 percent of what [they say] I earn," he says. "That's what I'm finding out."

A spokesperson for UberX, Natalia Montalvo, says that she hadn't heard of such complaints from Miami drivers and that the company's Magic City launch had been a success. "Miami's been one of our fastest-growing markets," she says. "We've seen really great demand on the riders' side and the drivers' side." Montalvo pledges to look more specifically into Bentley's complaints.

On May 8, time.com reported that nearly 100 disgruntled UberX drivers protested outside the company's San Francisco headquarters after it raised its cut to 20 percent of the fares. The drivers formed a circle and shouted their grievances, which included the lack of tips and inability to make decent wages because of the company's low-cost rides.

"Our number one demand," driver Ramzi Raguii told the website, "is take care of your drivers. Quit burning and churning through drivers."

Bentley says he hasn't yet quit driving for UberX but is strongly considering it. "You keep losing and losing," he says. "It starts to look like extortion."

Send your tips to trevor.bach@miaminewtimes.com, or follow @trevorbach.

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66 comments
sftaxi8041
sftaxi8041

Let them claim all they want to about how much they are going to make:  I have driven a taxicab for 26 years in San Francisco during DOTCOM  and when there were fewer than 800 cabs on the street:  I will not reveal what my best year is and will not tell what I make.  I am just laughing at fools that buy new cars and destroy them on the streets for a greedy techi bastard that will be a zillionaire when he goes public and then walks away laughing his ass off at the loser drivers with lawsuits against them broken down cars and a bad credit report after the bank repos their cars due to non payment 

AVazir
AVazir

This is a VERY FISHY character. I drive for uberX and what I’m reading in this story sounds more like a “Manchurian Candidate” going to work for uberX for simply making them look bad. Is uberX perfect? Absolutely NOT! Far from it.

But what this “Bentley” guy is talking about borders self-fabricated story. Making total of $1700 and then noticing only $450 left for the driver is 500% impossible. No way.

Contrary to taxi business –which I have a feeling this guy is an actual taxi license owner—uberX accounting system for drivers is the most transparent for drivers. Unlike taxi drivers, EVERY SINGLE trip made is recorded with anal-detail within driver’s account (they call it Dashboard). Then you can import it into your own PC into Xcel format for analysis. I drove taxi for over 5 years and find uberX-kind of services liberating and 100% makes me to have more money in my pocket. 20% commission by uberX is fine when I compare with driving cabs made me to lose 45-55% of the money made with taxi company. So as I read this story I’m certain this guy is NOT an authentic driver. No wonder uberX was trying to find this guy and prove he is wrong.

Suggestion: Reporter for this story (Trevor Bach) should ask “Bentley” to allow you to look at the weekly report that uberX created for him for the $1700 and $450 net.

Please ask him to show you that spread and you do the calculations. Then PLEASE let your readers know what you find out. At the end of each week uberX sends drivers a weekly report of EACH trip made with detail distance, time and location, plus total amount paid and the commission. It is very simple to verify Bentley’s claim. I look forward to read your follow up calculations and update.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Miami fares are higher than anywhere else!

Jose Mora
Jose Mora

Coming soon www.owlsdrivers.com

Shai Step
Shai Step

Leave it to a Miami resident to complain about an efficient system.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

Btw, no percentage in using your personal vehicle to drive others around Miami. Ever sit in traffic, I don't even want to drive myself any more than I have to.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

My take on it, someone doesn't want to pay cab fare for what their ride is worth. They get the luxury of riding in your new car. And the one driving is looking for cash under the table work, unreported income.

Michael Reginbogin
Michael Reginbogin

Leave it to Miami to have issues once again! Uber works everywhere else and the drivers that I've engaged in conversation have only had positive things to say about the company. It's not Uber it's Miami...

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

Everybody knows by now, all businessmen are completely full of shit; just the worst kind of low-life, criminal, cocksuckers you could ever wanna' run into - a fuckin' piece of shit businessman. And the proof of it, the proof of it is, they don't even trust each other. They don't trust one another. When a business man sits down to negotiate a deal, the first thing he does is to automatically assume that the other guy is a complete lying prick who's trying to fuck him outta his money. So he's gotta do everything he can to fuck the other guy a little bit faster and a little bit harder. And he's gotta do it with a big smile on his face. You know that big, bullshit businessman smile? And if you're a customer - Whoah! - that's when you get the really big smile. Customer always gets that really big smile, as the businessman carefully positions himself directly behind the customer, and unzips his pants, and proceeds to service...the...account. I am servicing this account. This customer needs service. Now you know what they mean. Now you know what they mean when they say, "We specialize in customer service." Whoever coined the phrase "let the buyer beware" was probably bleeding from the asshole. That's business.

george carlin

 

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

"Riptide got in touch with Bentley, who claimed he was using a pseudonym out of fear of reprisal from the company; Riptide guaranteed Bentley's anonymity and asked for documentation confirming that he is in fact an UberX driver. Bentley provided it."

So you didn't verify he was an employee when he first approached you?  NICE JOURNALISM BRO.

Miami-Sid
Miami-Sid


"Bentley says he hasn't yet quit driving for UberX but is strongly considering it. "You keep losing and losing," he says. "It starts to look like extortion.""


This is his quote and Riptide has the gall to publish this crap? Please.


Josh Lamb
Josh Lamb

Enter promo code uberjtridefree for a FREE $30 ride credit when you download the UBER app!

Jesse Laier
Jesse Laier

All the Chicago drivers say it's easy money and they all have a good time doing it. What y'all doing to these poor people in Miami?

surfer4life
surfer4life

Gee...i wonder if the taxi and livery business planted this story. What a joke. Taxis offer crap service, dirty cars and take forever to show up. Good riddance.

Marcus Aponte
Marcus Aponte

If the city would allow licensed drivers the opportunity to permit their cars and not force then to work under existing conditions!

Marcus Aponte
Marcus Aponte

This sounds like the very transportation Industries practice, which takes a whopping 35/40% of every tip and gratuity is included as w/ Uber. This guy has no idea what the industry is really like and his complaint is the same for taxi drivers and limo drivers! Long hours, rarely get additional tips! Welcome to the Miami based transportation business!!!

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

Uh oh, looks like New Times has their own KFC mauling scandal going on here.

Michael Chacon
Michael Chacon

For the people that have had a bad experience. You know you can rate the driver, which if they continue to perform poorly are then removed from the service. How do you a rate a cab driver exactly? Because I get terrible service 90% of the time and they couldn't care less.

Tommy Madison
Tommy Madison

Nothing could be worse than the cab drivers here. So I completely welcome Uber, at least I won't have to hear the cabby yelling in hatain on his phone the whole trip with no ac on.

right
right

ok, this guy just doesn't know how to be efficient. Pick a high traffic spot & ride it out. I've been driving at night with Uber for about a week & I love the $$$ i'm making & that I can make my own hours. I think Uber's 20% actually isnt that much considering they are hooking up the rides & you don't have to deal with all the taxi related operation fees. 

But yeah, DON'T BECOME AN UBER DRIVER, more fares for me!!!

Emma Crivello
Emma Crivello

Graham Bandicoot Carroll it's the drivers not the company that need to be better selected. Several of my friends have had very unpleasant experiences especially with tr Los Angeles one

Emma Crivello
Emma Crivello

I understand the whole company isn't fraudulent BUT my experience was so horrible and terrifying and then it happened again in la to another girl, yes it's not the most loved company in my mind lol I had a horrible experience graham

Emma Crivello
Emma Crivello

Graham Bandicoot Carroll I had a horrible experience with it where this man drove my friend and I into a dark part of compton didn't let us out, and was screaming at us in Russian. It was beyond horrifying. So yes I have a bad taste in my mouth

Emma Crivello
Emma Crivello

Graham Bandicoot Carroll I have taken uber in la and philly and NYC

Graham Bandicoot Carroll
Graham Bandicoot Carroll

Emma that's a really absurd thing to say, and it's clear you haven't experienced the true functionality of Uber. Nothing is worse than the currently corrupt, unavailable, unclean, antiquated taxi system in Miami. If you think Uber is in fact worse, I want to know why you think that as the vast, vast majority of Americans disagree with you

Mike Worley
Mike Worley

Let's take a moment to recap this: A guy signs up to drive for UberX, is surprised to find out that UberX is going to take a cut of his fares (SHOCKER!) and gets pissed when passengers don't want to travel very far and/or have drunk accidents in his backseat... and after all the complaining admits that he still will drive for Uber. This is NOT a story about Uber being a rip-off, it's a story about a guy who is likely dealing with hard times and is pissed that he's having work as a taxi driver.

dolttle
dolttle

HAHAHA! I bet a cab driver signed up for Uber and then asked to be interviewed to give it a bad rep. They tell you up front that they take 20%...if I recall, it was even in the training video that you watch when your application is accepted. Come on dude, it's a business! They are in this to make money...so they take a cut. Also, tips are allowed. If you read the FAQ page under your driver portal it says when someone offers you a cash tip, you tell them first it's not necessary and it's included in the fare, if they offer it still, Uber says take it! And I have! I've been driving for Uber for 9 months now in Atlanta and have loved it! 


Really? Only $450 after Uber's cut and your expenses from $1700?? Does your car get like 5mpg? I spend maybe $50 a week on gas (my car gets 28 mpg), I work about 30 hours a week driving and I'll take home at least $650 for the week (after Uber's fee and my gas). You also forgot to mention the bonuses and incentives they give. One weekend they guaranteed drivers here in Atlanta $35/hour whether you get any ride requests or not. I did 3 rides on that Friday night and made $350. Uber is an excellent company. I quit my waitressing job because it's so good. Their referral bonuses are also awesome. I've made $1500 alone just by referring other drivers. 


With all that said, I am not familiar with Miami...maybe it is too spread out for you to make a decent profit. In Atlanta, though Uber is rocking...Drivers and passengers love it alike! 

Palangana
Palangana topcommenter

Unionize motherfuckers!

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

You really expect the MNT staff to further investigate these claims like real journalists would? Ha. You must be new here.

Miami-Sid
Miami-Sid

@surfer4life "Gee...i wonder if the taxi and livery business planted this story." Good point ...not an illogical conclusion.

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