Uber and Lyft Team Members Afraid of Being DEACTIVATED for Expressing Your Opinions

Read this post first.

Learn how to be a Rebel At Work from Lois Kelly. Then begin sending anonymous messages to executives by email and other more creative methods. Tell them to immediately contact her at: lkelly@foghound.com or 401.952.5611. I have absolutely no original ideas about corporate social media. I learned everything I know by working for Lois 2008-2009.

Stifling Conversation by TNC Executive Management: A Case Study

The example below of stifling conversation is particularly painful to me because it revolves around a series of policy changes made by Lyft in the early spring that many disagreed with and were frightened by. I disagree with most of the opinions expressed by the Lyft driver below. In some cases his statements are just not based on actual facts.

I’m not as familiar with the experience of Uber drivers, however although I haven’t yet found a written versions of similar incidents, I have heard about them verbally.

I wish I had a similar post about Uber….maybe someone will email me a link to a great example….

 

At the time of the post below, I was a strong supporter of the policy changes made during that period. I still support those changes. When the guaranteed floor on driver earnings was removed on January 19, 2014 in Boston, there was a lot of Chicken Little posting on the regional Facebook lounges referred to below. I was one of several drivers that wrote calm, fact-based statements and opinions about the

  • Removal of the floor
  • Happy Hour pricing
  • Prime Time pricing
  • Passenger prices going down
  • Sometimes even driver commissions going up!

Many Boston drivers wrote posts that charitably could be called disparaging to Lyft executive management. Some described rabid conspiracy theories to cheat and lie to drivers.

However, then and now, I supported the right of drivers to post these statements no matter how crazy they were.

For brevity and comprehension, I’ve supplied an edited version of a Chicago Lyft driver’s experience below. The complete post is available here, currently with 186 comments.   

The unsavory truth about Lyft: by a former Chicago driver.

Posted by jaejaedynomite on Reddit March 2014

jaejaedynomite is a real person. She’s easy to find.

I’ve spent the last 7 months driving for Lyft. I signed up in July. It was a great source of extra income. More importantly, I enjoyed the friendly nature of passengers and fellow drivers…

…Now before anyone dismisses my story as that of a disgruntled former driver, you should know some things about me. I drove with Lyft for 7 months. I had completed nearly 700 Lyft rides. I had a star rating of 4.97 out of a possible 5. I have pages and pages of positive customer feedback. I had received all 5 star ratings from passengers for the past month straight. Additionally, I had recently become a mentor driver for new drivers. I’m not some rabble-rouser or deviant. Lyft abused its position of power to take advantage of unsuspecting drivers many times including the launch of [Happy Hour] reduced passenger fares….

…The latest bait and switch tactic was implemented today. Lyft announced a new discounted fare feature called [Happy Hour]. The feature would offer reduced fares to passengers ranging from 10%-50% LESS than regular fares in an effort to increase ridership during “slow times”. Now, they offered no additional compensation to drivers whatsoever. Drivers were expected to give the reduced fare rides with the hope that lowered rates would result in more demand that could generate more income over time spent on the road…

….They terminated me for trying to do what they should’ve done, effectively inform their drivers of a change that reduced their potential earnings. Lyft isn’t regulated and can terminate a driver without warning or adequate explanation….

…Lyft is by far the least transparent of all three ride share companies operating in Chicago. A lot of changes and announcements are made in their closed driver Facebook lounges that are segregated by city. Sometimes they didn’t follow up with an email regarding announcements or policy change….Drivers are consistently under informed or misinformed about changes to the Lyft platform…

…Lyft has habitually made abrupt changes that adversely affect drivers. For example, in December Lyft headquarters (HQ) told us the guaranteed base/floor (guaranteed) pay wasn’t going away and then removed it merely days later without advanced warning 2 weeks before Christmas…

There are several problems with [the Happy Hour] scenario. Lyft did not reduce their 20% commission on fares. Lyft launched the Happy Hour discount without informing drivers in a timely manner. The announcement was made via email and a post in the Lyft Chicago & other markets driver Facebook lounges as [Happy Hour] went into effect for passengers. Lyft also claimed that [Happy Hour] fares would only be applicable during times when demand was slow. It launched during Chicago rush hour, one of the busiest times of the day for drivers. I later learned that this is how the discounted fares were implemented in other Lyft cities as well.

Several drivers went to the Lyft Chicago Facebook driver lounge to convey their disapproval, including myself. After several posts, we realized the severity of the situation. I took it upon myself to request two rides, inform these two drivers of the discounted fares and cancel the requests. I called one and text[ed] the other. The driver that I spoke to was grateful that I called him. He said he thought based on the email sent by Lyft to drivers, that the [Happy Hour] fares wouldn’t have started the same day Lyft announced them. Here’s the text:

“Hi this is Jae, a fellow Lyft driver. I just wanted to inform you of Lyft’s new Happy Hour discounted fares. It began today and was announced today. Passengers get discounted fares up to 50%. Drivers get no compensation for the reduced fares. There is no in app notification for drivers yet. I’ll be cancelling this request.”

….A short time later I was removed from the lounge.

This came as no surprise as several other drivers have been removed for speaking out against Lyft shady business practices. However, they were ALWAYS given at least one warning via email/phone call. I got NEITHER. The real shocker came when I emailed asking why I was removed from the lounge. The response said I was actually deactivated from driver status for making “disparaging” comments about Lyft in the driver lounge. A lounge that is supposed to foster free speech and dialogue amongst drivers and Lyft HQ staff.

I asked why I wasn’t given a warning and insisted that I never violated the community code of conduct. I got another email response apologizing for the misinformation but stating that I was deactivated for misuse of the Lyft platform to text disparaging remarks to drivers and cancel rides.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. The text message listed above stated only facts about the events that occurred. There are absolutely no published guidelines that clearly state my actions were a violation of Lyfts driver code of conduct.

Thanks for reading my post! Feel free to email [Lyft] if you think I shouldn’t have been deactivated.

Jae

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