For years, Uber has focused on the rider as the primary customer in lieu of investing in drivers. But now, the company is attempting to rectify its frayed relationship with its three million drivers.
So what is it really like to be an Uber driver dealing with day-in and day-out troubles at the company?
Recode reporter Johana Bhuiyan rode along with one to find out by asking him questions only drivers can answer.
Meet Cameron Kruger. He’s a 4.96-rated Uber driver in New York City who has been driving for the company for two years. As of October, Kruger had given almost 3,000 rides on the Uber platform.
Kruger takes pride in making his ride a good experience for passengers but has also thought a great deal about how to protect himself. Here’s what his setup looks like:
When did Uber’s relationship with its drivers start deteriorating?
Cameron said that he got a call from someone who said he was an employee at Uber in New Jersey. He told Cameron that Uber was lowering prices and that as a result he would be driving more people and get more money.
The result? Cameron said he made $1,000 less every month.
What can Uber do to regain drivers’ trust?
They can’t, says Cameron. The “elephant” in the room, he says, is that they broke drivers’ trust by lowering fares.
Uber recently allowed tipping on its app as a way to appease drivers who felt it was unfair not to have that option. So do people actually tip drivers now?
Cameron says it varies, but the way Uber set up tips makes it hard to earn a reasonable amount of money in tips.
Cameron says the problem is that tipping for cabs, for example, happens right when you pay the driver. For Uber, it happens whenever you happen to get back on the app. And if you’ve ever ridden in an Uber, you know that the options the company gives for tipping is only a few dollars, whereas in taxis it’s a percentage of the fare. That doesn’t help drivers, Cameron says.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.