Uber has had its troubles across the globe since its launch in March 2009. The latest of which is a report that Uber has accidentally underpaid its drivers in New York City over the past two and a half years.
The transportation network company which operates in over 550 cities worldwide connects commuters with divers via a navigation app.
When Uber was introduced in Accra, Ghana, taxi drivers protested at the unfair advantages drivers who register for San Francisco start-up have over the traditional taxis.
The discussion has since been controversial but some taxi drivers have also registered with Uber, using whatever advantage they can have to gain more customers.
But it’s not just about getting more customers, Uber has a cut.
How Uber works
Drivers register with Uber and download the Uber Driver App.
Users who want to use the services of Uber download the Uber app on their smartphone.
When a user wants to move, they input their destination in the app which gives an approximation of the fare and connects the user to the available driver.
The driver then picks the user up at a ‘Pick Up Location’ and upon arrival at the destination, the fare is shown on both the driver and users app for payment to be done.
How Uber gets its cut
How Uber gets its cut
Uber is supposed to take a 25 percent cut from drivers fares.
According to a driver in Ghana, Evans, Uber drivers are made to create an account where they deposit Uber’s 25 percent cut after a period of time. All card transactions in Ghana go directly to Uber due to the minimal number of card transactions.
The driver then calculates Uber’s balance after a period of time and pays into the account Uber makes them create.
75 percent for driver, 25 percent for Uber.
Forgetting and cancelling trips to cheat Uber
Cancelling trips to deny Uber their 25 percent cut
Ghanaians drivers are finding ways to cheat Uber of their 25 percent and here are the two ways.
First, drivers will use the app to find customers and get to their location. Once the passenger gets into the Uber, the driver convinces the passenger they’d like to cancel the trip so the passenger pays what they saw upon requesting for the service.
For the passenger, this will mean no hike in price irrespective of traffic. For the driver, no 25 percent cut for Uber.
The second method is Uber drivers deliberately forgetting to start the trip on the app after passenger gets in. Upon arrival, the driver tells the passenger to pay the approximated fare because they forgot to start the trip. They then cancel the trip.
No 25 percent cut for Uber, again.
An Uber passenger, Kwame narrated his story to Pulse.com.gh saying:
“The driver was very police when he called to ask for directions to my office when I requested the Uber. Upon arrival, he didn’t call back like they normally do so I checked my map and went out after seeing he had arrived.
“I remember this driver telling me specifically he was starting the trip before we moved. It was a quiet trip. When we got to my destination, he pulled out his phone and told me he forgot to start the trip and that how much do I pay to come there. He takes the approximated fare and cancels the trip.”
In a Ghana system where taxi drivers are known to cheat their car owners, this could not be an intention to cheat Uber but rather, the car owner.
An Uber driver in Ghana once talked about how his car owner didn’t question him a lot when they registered for Uber with another car because the owner saw all the money he made in a day.
So maybe, just maybe, this scheme may not be targeted at Uber but a means to get some cash without car owners actually knowing.