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EXHIBITION LETTER


INFORMATION EXPOSURE 


Abstract 


IN THIS LETTER WE WANT TO EXPOSE THE ABUSES, SECURITY FAILURES, AND MANIPULATION OF UBER AND LYFT AGAINTS DRIVERS. IN THE SAME WAY, DEMAND A CHANGE IN THE REGULATIONS TOWARDS RIDE SHARING COMPANIES. 


Recommended Citation 

Kayla Marie Heckman, Uber and the Need for Particularized Regulation, 28 U. Miami Bus. L. Revelation 382 (2020) 


This commentary is presented publicly with the intention of collecting signatures in support of the complaints and demands offered. Each signature obtained represents the consent of persons who fully agree with the following. 


As many of us know, Uber and Lyft are here to revolutionize transportation around the world. Their system was novel and there was no way to stop it, so the only option for many cities was to accept it, adapt, "regulate" it or look for alternatives created by the government itself, for the good and benefit of all. For many years, the yellow cab industry had control of this type of service, which is fully regulated by the governments of every city throughout the USA. Many people, including myself, taking a taxi was a luxury because of its high costs, but very few people can understand why those costs are high. In a short time, Ridesharing platforms became a new service within the reach of many pockets, but in exchange for what or at what cost? What was the true short-term or long-term cost to the drivers? 


It took a bit of time, but many people started finding these platforms as a job opportunity to generate quite reasonable profits. One of the advantages was that it could be done as a full-time or part-time job. There were decent economic benefits in both options. I believe that many of the drivers who were founders of this service were quite satisfied with the result of their work. To this day, the only thing I can thank Uber for is that this type of job, where I could manage my time, allowed me to study in college and graduate, since I studied full-time. Even after graduating I had the possibility to continue with my personal projects because I worked between 8 and 10 hours and 5 days a week in Uber/Lyft and then dedicated 4 to 6 hours to my company and the development of my projects. Everything was fine until the inconveniences started. 


This is where the story of the disaster caused by Uber and Lyft begins: After former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was forced to resign in 2017, Uber's landscape has progressively changed [It's important to understand that Uber and Lyft move in tandem in much of their strategic shifts because they are the companies that dominate the market across the U.S. If I sometimes only mention Uber, this applies to all rideshare companies.] 


ABUSIVE CHANGES AND MANIPULATION 


A few months after Dara Khosrowshahi took over as CEO at Uber, big changes began at the ride-hailing platform. Changes that were aimed at affecting drivers' earnings and increasing Uber's profits. The changes were as follows. 

-          Since the beginning of Uber and Lyft in the USA, these companies established the profit split at 80% for drivers and 20% for the company. Their initial business concept dictated that it was the most appropriate thing to do. I'm sure that if their offer to drivers had been different, they wouldn't have gotten the support they were trying to obtain for their growth and expansion. Over the years, these companies made aggressive changes to increase their profits, which leads to drivers receiving 50% of the charges paid by customers and sometimes drops to 30% much of the time. If they made mistakes in their business concept and tried to increase their profits, they should have looked for other methods, but not pushed us to an unusual extreme to the point of obtaining only losses.  

-          The creation of multiple categories of services where they downgrade the type of car to offer cheaper costs. This practice has been going on for some time. To date, Uber and Lyft continues to make changes that continue to affect driver services and the costs that are paid to us. 

-          Elimination of the old system of "Increase" rates when there were high demands. Previously, a fare multiplier was used, which was exchanged for x amount of money. The Surge Price is manipulated by an algorithm that can either be triggered or not. This system can be manipulated at the company's convenience or configured to generate delays in its changes. Trends are always in favor of the company. 

-          Drastic reduction of all types of bonuses. Uber and Lyft use "strategic" and manipulative methods where they deceive new drivers with high bonuses and Quests, preventing them from focusing on the real profits they are generating. After a while these companies suspend those incentives leaving the drivers dependent on working for them for little money. 

-          Constant and progressive reduction of fares paid to drivers. These companies are not going to stop. They are going to continue reducing the rates they pay drivers until they find a turning point. They achieve this by introducing new drivers into the system daily manipulating them for later eliminate those who notice pay reductions and decide to stop driving.  

-          The elimination of payments per mile and time (now called Up-Front Price). If during a trip for reasons beyond our control we must drive longer and more miles, they are not adequately remunerated. Sometimes they do it at their discretion and it is never favorable to the drivers.  

-          Increased customer waits times. Currently, they have raised the waiting time for UberX again, the lowest category, from 7 to 9 minutes without consulting drivers. For each category, waiting times were increased by 2 minutes. As the category increases, the waiting time is longer, reaching up to 15 minutes. 

         In this work, there are 2 variables that can greatly affect the way drivers earn money.  


§  One variable is the one that was applied to drivers from the beginning, which was 20% for Uber, 80% for drivers. The same happened with Lyft. In this model, for them to earn more money, they had to increase the costs of services, which benefited both sides, driver and the company. 


§  The previous model was gradually and progressively replaced by an inverse and abusive model. When they removed the 20% cap, they applied it to us, but in a different way. Uber and Lyft's algorithm calculates how much we can earn on each trip based on costs per mile and time that vary but do not exceed a certain amount. This allows them to manipulate their profits based on the cap they impose on us. There are no limits to their earnings. Let's take an example in an UberX service: They state that during a low demand we receive a maximum of $0.62 per mile and $0.10 per minute, but Uber or Lyft can charge customers $1.80 per mile and $0.30 per minute. This gives them $1.18 per mile and $0.20 per minute of net earnings. 

In addition to these aggressive changes by Uber and Lyft, there are others that tend to be understood as manipulative strategies (These changes were with the aim of increasing their profits because both were launched on the stock market in 2019 and must comply with the market or they may end up in an economic disaster)  

-          Uber manipulates zones and fare increases at its convenience to avoid paying drivers more while they increase the costs of their services to customers. Many of the areas that Uber uses to offer the fare increase are areas where it is practically impossible to travel, lakes, parks, restricted areas, the Port of Miami at times without access, it has even been seen that they put it in the sea. In areas that usually can't be driven, they put the amounts extremely high to attract drivers to the area, but in the areas where there is really the demand, they always put up to 90% less than what they show in the restricted areas.  

         98% of the time that extra fares are shown due to high demand, Uber never offers what they show, and they rely on the fact that these fares are not guaranteed. This looks like this. Uber shows drivers a $10 fare in a specific area to attract drivers, but that doesn't guarantee they'll pay drivers the extra $10.  

-          The times of high on-demand rates disappear in a matter of seconds. They use this mechanism simply to attract drivers without offering them any benefit, even if they come from far away. Before Dara took over as CEO, these extra fees lasted for a reasonable amount of time. As high demand continues, Uber and Lyft can charge customers high fares while reducing what they pay drivers. 

-          When there is a high demand, the algorithm they use detects the number of drivers in the area and/or in nearby areas Vs the demand. If the algorithm determines that there are enough drivers to meet the demand, the system automatically blocks the ride cost increase, even if the drivers don't take the rides. They take this as an advantage to increase fare costs but keep payments to drivers low. 

-          Uber uses a system called Radar. The Radar is not a ride request that is offered directly to a driver, it is the alert of a trip available that is shown to several drivers simultaneously which can be 6, 8, 13, 15, etc. of them. Before, on the Radar you could see how many drivers were shown the trip. That information was removed from the app due to the number of drivers receiving the alert at the same time. This generated discontent among the drivers due to the high number of drivers who offered them the ride. After about 30 seconds, if the driver doesn't take the ride, Uber displays a message that says "Another driver matched to this request." The funny thing about this is that after several seconds Uber returns that ride request as a direct request to the driver, which proves that the ride was never taken by another driver. They use this mechanism to make drivers believe that other drivers are taking the rides, even if they are underpaid. 

-          Sometimes, when there is low demand, if a driver rejects an Uber ride, the algorithm applies a type of punishment which no longer offers you any ride request for minutes and sometime hours. They prefer that the algorithm continue to offer rides to those drivers who have a high acceptance rate. 

         Uber uses a tier system which is Uber Pro-Blue, Gold, Platinum and Diamond that is governed by the level of acceptance and cancellation of rides. These tier categories have always been a manipulative tool for Uber to encourage drivers. A few years ago, Uber used this tier tool so that if a driver reached the Diamond category (the highest level) then the driver could see how much he was going to earn, the distance and time of each trip. These categories include other rewards that do not represent any financial benefit to the driver. What happens with this is that it generates a certain state of competition in new drivers who think that by raising the levels they get some benefit, when in the end they do not get anything important, or they must meet those levels to keep their account active. 

-          Long waits at lots for TNC cars at the Miami airport. Waits of up to 4 hours or more have been recorded in the batch. This information was obtained from a survey that some drivers have conducted. This happens regularly at busy times at the airport during the morning and afternoon. Many Uber drivers have denounced over several years the problems that exist in these Waiting Queues without getting a result from Uber. Uber often uses something called "Rematch," which means it offers airport pick-up rides to drivers who are dropping off passengers, rather than to drivers who have been waiting in the lot in temperatures that sometimes reach 100°F in that area. The drivers on the lot have been like a backup. I should add that there are mobile tools that allow drivers to circumvent the Waiting Queues by making the waiting times of the most expensive services more than 6 or 8 hours. A few years ago, Uber and Lyft were actively deactivating all accounts that used mobile tools to circumvent the operation of its mobile application. The use of these tools does not affect Uber or Lyft at all, only other drivers. 

-          The waiting lot at Fort Lauderdale Airport is 3.3 miles away. Instead of Uber and Lyft sending a ride request directly to drivers, they put a notice in the app advising the driver to start driving to the airport, practically forcing them to move in direction of the airport to receive the ride request. Once they are on their way to the airport, they offer drivers the travel request. What's up with this? On many occasions it has happened to me that Uber has offered me the ride on the way to the airport and when I am just arriving the customer cancels without receiving any compensation. What happens next? I must return to the parking lot to receive another ride request. It is abusive that they force drivers to drive 3.3 miles also without knowing if the trip they are going to receive is right for them or not. 

-          High demand fees are not properly enforced. Uber has a system of manipulation in fares that aims to play with people's senses. When there is a lot of demand, Uber pays drivers a rate that is determined by them + the demand rate they want. A rate that in many cases is the same as what you pay without a demand extra price. I want to offer an example to explain it better.  


§  Let's say that on a 10-mile, 25-minute UberX ride they pay a minimum of $7 USD and a maximum of $10, that amount varies based on algorithms. If there is a demand in that area of $5 USD above the regular payment, they do not use the maximum payment of $10 USD, they use the minimum of $7 USD and add the $5 USD high demand fee, resulting in $12 USD, not $15 USD. That's the way it is all the time. All their strategies are based on algorithms created to maximize their profits and exploit us. 

         Another problem that we face and is reported is that during the request for rides Uber shows the trajectory of the trip, the estimated time, and miles. Once the ride is accepted and the customer is picked up, the number of miles to get to the customer's destination is different from those shown before the driver accepts the ride. Why does Uber do this? Drivers are denying large numbers of rides lately due to low pay, and this is a way to manipulate information and push drivers to accept rides. 

There is much more information to share, but there are also other very important points to make. 

Now our intention is to expose all the abuses to which Uber and Lyft constantly subject us. There is a lot of information we must share, but I will try to expose the most important ones. 

         As many of us know, Rideshare's service has a limited market like any other business. This is not a business model that acquires new customers daily in large numbers. Let's put it this way and it's an assumption to be able to explain the idea.  


1.      Let’s assume that there are about 20,000 active Uber-Lyft customers, 10,000 Uber customers, and 10,000 Lyft customers in Miami Dade County.  

2.      Each company has 500 drivers and a total of 1000 to meet the daily demand of 20,000 customers.  

3.      Let's say those 20,000 customers take 1 trip a day (so as not to complicate the example too much). This equates to each driver making an average of between 15 and 25 trips per day.  

4.      Let's say that Uber and Lyft acquire customers daily, what is going to happen is that the average number of trips for some drivers increases, but in a range of 1 to 2 trips. It would be the same if the range of trips per customer increases. 

5.      Each driver manages to make an estimated amount of $250 - $300 per day before declaring expenses for fuel, lunch, food, snacks, car wash, etc. 

6.      What would happen if Uber and Lyft decide to increase the driver capacity to 1000 each? Simple, the average number of trips decreases, and the earnings of the drivers are reduced. 

7.      What would happen if they decided to increase the number of drivers per company to 2000? Again, the average profit is exponentially affected among drivers.  

8.      Finally, what would happen if both companies decided to increase their fleet to 15,000 drivers each? Well, this is saturating the offer and going over the demand economically affecting each driver of the platforms, but all this without affecting the profits of Uber and Lyft at all. 


This is something that has been going on for a long time now, as none of the Rideshare platforms operating in Florida are properly regulated. At the beginning of this letter, I shared a text by Kayla Marie Heckman, which belongs to a study on this type of technology and submitted to Journals of the University Of Miami School Of Law, Institutional Repository where these and other problems are exposed. 


Around November 2017, the city of Miami legalized the operation of this type of service. The state of Florida and its counties served their cities on a GOLDEN platter to these tech companies. The state and cities created virtually no regulations limiting these companies' strategies. The state of Florida and its cities did not offer the drivers any legal support or backing to defend themselves. It is currently illegal for rideshare drivers to form a union for the same failure to create a legal backing. The local government left us totally unprotected, at the mercy of a new market that was just beginning to show its true intentions. 

Due to the lack of regulations, these Uber and Lyft companies can do and undo as they please, even if their actions affect economically, psychologically, and physically those who work for them. The first thing here is that we don't have a solid participation category in place. We are partners, self-employed, independent contractors, everything is at their convenience to free themselves from their responsibilities and be able to protect their actions. If Uber and Lyft drivers are "partners" of these companies, it is their duty to count on us for any change they wish to make, especially if this change affects the work we do and our economic interests. If Uber and Lyft can't offer us a specific category, then the local government or state is responsible for doing so. As we, the drivers of Shared Trips, do not have legal and solid backing makes us practically manipulable and exploitable tools of these companies.  


I would now like to proceed with the presentation of everything that is happening in the South Florida area in relation to the practices of Uber and Lyft. The explanation is going to be broken down for a better understanding of everything that happens. 


ROAD TRAFFIC AND SATURATED OFFER 


In Miami over the past few years, traffic has become a huge mess due to new people moving into the city, but the biggest contributors to this disaster are Uber and Lyft. Why? When the state of Florida and its cities approved the operation of these companies, no city, no county, not even the state, put a CAP on the number of drivers they could recruit, in fact, they backed themselves using strategic commercial reasons to not declare the exact number of drivers they have. We can assure you that the number is extremely high and irrational.  

Since Dara Khosrowshahi took over as Uber's CEO, one of his main goals has been to promote driver growth, saturate the market, and force the drivers who founded Uber and Lyft in Miami to regularly opt out of the system because they would be a nuisance to the company's economic growth. The founding drivers in South Florida knew the profits that we were able to generate with these platforms. Uber was preparing to change drastically. In the last 2 years, Uber has spent more money on marketing to acquire new drivers than on marketing to acquire new customers. Why? Another simple answer. 

-          The acquisition of new drivers does not generate expenses for the company. It's nothing more than grabbing drivers and having them start generating profits for the company. Uber only uses the mobile app as a resource.  

-          The new generations of drivers have no idea how much money was made in this market a few years ago. For them, what they pay today is the only thing they know.  

-          Miami is a city saturated with people. It is a city where the cost of living is increasing and what is earned is barely enough to pay for basic needs. It is a city where many needy people reside who can easily be exploited and abused, including large numbers of immigrants. It is also a city where mostly people who come from Latin American countries live and a large part of us have a conformist mentality, we accommodate ourselves to what the market offers, we lack the knowledge to apply our rights, we lack hope, faith, and unity. For that reason, Miami has been a laboratory for these companies for many years. We have been the testing ground for new ideas and none, I emphasize, no idea has a positive impact for us drivers. They test them in many Florida markets and then spread them to other states and even countries.  

-          Market saturation is only bringing problems and not just with traffic. This type of work requires skills that not many people have. If you go to Uber's requirements page, that's pretty much anyone can do it. What's causing this? That, if half of Miami wants to do it, they can. That people without knowing the streets of the city, without having at least semi-professional driving experience, without having good vision, without having good hearing abilities and good reflexes, who are not responsible and drive aggressively can drive for Uber and Lyft to transport people. I invite the government of Florida to review the data on accidents and fatalities in Miami from 2015 onwards and compare them to previous years or ask Uber and Lyft about the statistics about the number of accidents where they drivers have been involved. What is the result of all this? Everything is on the rise, including the increase in car insurance policies for those who haven't even had accidents.  

         Uber allows people who come to visit Miami to work in this city as well. People who live in other cities, countries and come seasonally to do Uber and Lyft can also drive for them. 

-          Another important fact. If you don't have a car, it's not a problem, you can rent them in various companies such as Hertz, AVIS, Buggy and some others to do Uber. These companies in agreement with Uber use hitch mechanisms that make drivers see that car rental is quite convenient. I tried this option for a few months ago and ended up paying up to $2,000 USD a month for a car without including rental insurance. There are people who pay more. As Uber continues to open possibilities for people to join the platform, more drivers are on the road. We estimate that there are currently between 30,000 and 40,000 drivers in Miami Dade alone. Some people speculate that this number may be higher.  

-          Another problem related to traffic and supply saturation is the following. Why have Uber and Lyft saturated the supply of drivers in addition to doing so to compete on their costs? Well, they have done it to cover all the areas that are left empty and have drivers just 1 or 2 minutes away available in all areas of Miami Dade, Broward, and West Palm. A bit of an irrational practice since to achieve this they must put half of each county to drive for them. Of all the counties in South Florida, the most attractive to work in is Miami Dade, so drivers from other counties, even from other parts of Florida, come to drive to Miami Dade. If Uber and Lyft saturate the supply of drivers in counties that are in low demand, a large part of the drivers will end up working in the main market, which is Miami Dade. As the day progresses, the activities in many areas and counties decrease, so a large part of the drivers move and look for the areas with the most activity, which are Wynwood, Brickell, Miami Beach and the Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Airport. This only creates chaotic traffic and economic losses (fewer trips to be made, prices disappear due to high demands and companies pay extremely low amounts for trips since the market is extremely supplied with drivers). Pick-up times in areas saturated with drivers can be more than 20 minutes to travel 0.5 miles and another 20 minutes to be able to leave the same area. This can be to complete a trip of about $9 USD where we are forced to make 1 trip of $9 USD in practically 1 hour. A few years ago, demand rates, or as they are known, Surge Price, were the ones that controlled the distribution of drivers, so many stayed in their areas without having to go to others to work because Surge Price was available everywhere.  

         Service availability times. This is another problem that affects our work. To provide drivers just 2 minutes away from the requester, Uber and Lyft must saturate the market with drivers in a very aggressive way, regardless of the costs and consequences. These costs and consequences affect only the drivers. We promote the idea that if people require Uber and Lyft services, they should wait a reasonable amount of time for their service to arrive. 90% of the time we receive a trip we must wait at least 9 minutes for the customers, what sense it makes that we are available in 2 minutes if when we arrive to pick up the customers, we have to wait for them a long time.  

         In this type of work, time is even more important than distances traveled due to traffic. The higher the traffic, the lower the number of trips that can be made per hour. Currently, when there are events in Miami Dade, we barely make 1 trip to the event due to traffic and long waits to pick up the client and then drop them off at their destination. Before, we were able to do 3, 4, 5 trips from the events because the traffic flow allowed it.  


PROBLEMS WITH INSURANCE AND COVERAGE 

Problems with auto insurance companies are on the scale. We estimate that 90% of drivers on rideshare platforms do not declare to insurance companies that they work Uber and Lyft. Why? What you currently earn working for these companies for 12 hours behind the wheel is barely enough to support themselves (and we'll get to that point of discussion). If it's not enough to live on, how is it going to be enough to pay a much higher insurance premium?  

Now then. The state has made it a regulation that Rideshare drivers must have their personal auto insurance to drive on these platforms. At the same time, Uber and Lyft apply an exaggerated cost (money that does not go to the driver) on each trip to pay for a Commercial Insurance Policy applied directly by these companies. This cost varies in amount, capped at up to $10 USD per trip. It means that the harder we work, the more money they get for that insurance. A Premier SUV service driver can end up missing $150 USD or more in as little as 1 day of work. This equates to 30 days of work; a driver may be missing $4,000 a month or more in potential earnings. No commercial policy in Miami to offer regular passenger service costs $4,000 a month, none. If a driver works for Uber and Lyft simultaneously, they are paying 2 Commercial Insurances. 


Now we'll go point by point on how this affects drivers. 

         The driver no longer receives an amount ranging from $500 to $4,000 USD or more per month as Commercial Insurance mandated by the local governments, Uber and Lyft Rideshare applications. Again, the more trips drivers make, the more money goes into that insurance coverage.  

-          If rideshare drivers decide to tell their auto insurance company that they work driving with Uber and Lyft, these auto insurance companies will impose higher premiums on their customers (drivers). This would result in drivers paying higher premiums causing them losses, but at the same time losing money because Uber and Lyft pay with money earned by the driver Commercial Insurance on them. 3 insurances are being paid that only generate significant losses for the drivers. This is nothing more than the result of the lack of intervention, regulation, and control by the state of Florida and all counties in that state. 

-          Uber and Lyft's mandatory deductibles. We're all tied to the highest deductible which is $2,500. We don't have a choice in our deductible. All damage under $2,500 must be paid out of pocket. If someone hits us and it turns out they don't have insurance, the $2,500 must go for us. If someone do a Hit and Run, we must pay from our pocket. Currently, what an Uber driver earns is barely enough to be able to put a battery in a watch without affecting their basic monthly expenses. Miami is a city where we are constantly exposed to accidents. A city where there are about 20% of people who drive without a license and without car insurance. It's like every day we go out we risk getting hit or bumped and somehow, we'll end up having to pay that $2,500 deductible. If we were making money, it wouldn't be a problem, but that's not the case. Even if the damage is over that amount, we have to cover the first $2,500. This is totally abusive. 

-          If Uber and Lyft drivers don't reach certain levels that Uber are the ones mentioned earlier in this letter as Blue Pro, Gold, Platinum and Diamond they don't even get the car towing service. The driver must figure it out on his own. So, we pay for mandatory Commercial Insurance, and we don't have rental car coverage, we don't have towing service, we don't have any benefits. What's the point of this? We do not even have coverage for loss of income in the event of an accident.  


ECONOMIC LOSSES 


The taxi business has been around since the 1600s. Over time it has grown and expanded all over the world. Local and state governments realized that it was a market that had to be controlled in some way so that it did not turn into chaos. The taxi industry had great value and needed to be controlled. Each county was responsible for regulating its costs so that the business would be profitable for the driver, the company owner, and the city. The costs of taxis guarantee that their drivers could earn money to cover all their expenses related to their work, to be able to live, to generate income for the business owner and the state.  


Now the question is, why is it that when the evolution of this type of service emerged, the state of Florida and all its counties did absolutely nothing to control this market? These companies have been slaughtering us for years and where is the legal backing? All the changes and pressures we constantly put ourselves under without a voice or a vote can upset anyone's head. We have no guarantees of anything, we have no security in anything, we have absolutely nothing, and we are 100% at the mercy of everything these companies wish to do. When someone complains to these companies, they simply reply, "We were not created to be taken as a main source income."  


These companies only peddle lies for financial gain. During the early years of rideshare companies venturing into Miami Dade, the first drivers, including myself as one of them, earned money based on the time we spent on it, the more we worked, the more we earned. Many people found it convenient to do something extra and worked only on weekends and, even so, working 2 or 3 hours a day managed to earn $150 USD or more.  Those of us who worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week could earn $1500 or more, but the more you worked, the more you earned. The work was at the convenience and need of each person. This caused many people to quit their jobs to dedicate themselves solely to driving Uber and Lyft because of the profits they generated. Meanwhile, Uber said the largest percentage of drivers were only timeshares. Every time Uber uses this argument, it does so without showing evidence of it.  


In the beginning, around 2014-2015, Uber and Lyft took 20% of the profits that drivers generated, something reasonable and about which no driver complained. To see them take $20 out of every $100 we generated wasn't unreasonable. We worked to earn whatever we wanted. Now, if they say that this work was not created to be considered a primary source of income; How do they expect that there can be the necessary supply in their business concept to meet the demand they have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year? I knew people who drove up to 16 hours a day, but they left very pleased with their work and sometimes with more than $300 or $400 a day for their home and this was in the lowest category of Uber which is UberX. The rest of the categories generated better profits.  

When this market was 80% drivers and 20% Uber and Lyft, much of the money generated in the market stayed in the state. Right now, between 50% and 80% of money is leaving the state and maybe even the country. This work is only further impoverishing all who do it. Nowadays there are people who sleep in their cars because they can't even pay rent. This hadn’t happened before. 


Starting in 2021, just coming out of the COVID crisis, these companies were gradually reducing drivers' earnings and all bonuses to the point of turning them into something extremely ridiculous, such as receiving an extra $15 USD for completing 50 trips when it was up to $125 USD for 50 trips. At this point, Uber and Lyft were already raising costs to customers and trying to keep us on a profit cap. Not to make it so long. They managed to saturate the streets with drivers, they achieved a high peak of people working for them and concluded that drivers at some point, with the necessary pressure, should work for an extreme need and not to generate a good income. They concluded that this way the drivers would complete all the rides they received, even if they were underpaid. This is when these companies began touting hourly earnings estimate more than ever before. Rideshare drivers have NEVER worked by the hour. UberX, UberXL and Comfort drivers had times when we made $50 an hour and sometimes a little more, but at the end of the day we saw it as a profit for the day, not for hours. Our work cannot be tied to average hourly earnings.  

Why am I talking about all this? To be able to make you understand what many drivers are facing. 


Now I'm going to break down every economic problem we're facing, which is turning us into much underpaid slaves. 

-          The saturation of Uber and Lyft supply in Miami Dade, Broward and West Palm counties has only created the reduction of job opportunity, the almost total disappearance of fare increases during days with high demands and limiting the number of rides that can be made per hour due to congestion on the streets. They generate chaos and at the same time the misfortune of the drivers, without any compassion. On many occasions I have gone without receiving service requests for 1 hour or more and it is due to the saturation of the supply of drivers. The high fares due to busy days that were usually between Thursdays and Sundays helped us to complete the week's earnings that we were looking for and have disappeared due to this saturation of drivers on the streets.  

-          Another problem lies in the low seasons. When the low seasons arrive, they affect drivers in a general sense. These platforms must have an average limit of drivers who can survive the low seasons and meet the demand of the high seasons. Imagine a 50-table restaurant that hires 20 waiters in the low-season. What would happen? It's the same with us. 

-          Uber and Lyft are limiting us to sometimes earning $10 USD for 1 trip that is 1 hour and 10 miles due to traffic congestion that is extremely high due to the irrational number of drivers on the streets.  

-          A few years ago, we could make 35 trips or more in a 10-hour day, generating earnings of up to $500 USD between trips and bonuses in just 1 day. Currently, reaching 15 trips is an odyssey and it is very difficult to exceed $150 USD. This is without discounting the cost of the gasoline used to achieve this. 

-          The average hourly commute in this type of job in Miami is about 1.5 trips during the day and 2.3 at night right now. 80% of Uber and Lyft rides are between $2.69 USD and $6 USD, which leaves us in 1 hour potentially earning no more than $10 USD. 

-          Rideshare drivers provide 90% of the resources to carry out this work. Why should we work to earn less than a quarter of what customers pay? Currently, Uber and Lyft are taking between 50% and 80% of what the customer pays.  

-          They have limited us to the amount of money we can make per hour, ranging from $10 to $27 USD while they increase and decrease what they earn at will. Example, a trip paying $27 USD is a trip that takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes to complete during traffic congetions and can be of 38 miles or more. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft are charging the passengers $65 or more. Where does this leave us? Being the ones who provide the car, the gas, the time, the work, the risk of accidents or death, the tires, the maintenance, the car repairs, personal car insurance and the stress of driving in this city. How can we survive this level of abuse? 

         Currently in my case I spend $42 USD on gas to earn sometimes $80 USD because I drive for a long time without receiving requests for rides and the average payments are extremely low. If I decide to stop and wait for a ride, it's even worse, and I'm less likely to receive ride requests. All this again is due to the saturation of drivers in all areas. 

-          Economic losses are not only affecting our ability to cover our living expenses, but they are also affecting our ability to keep our cars fit to drive. Due to the excessive use of cars, maintenance and repairs are more frequent. I am sure that 80% of the people who read this letter will identify with these problems. I currently must replace the suspension system of my car and I can't do it because the cost exceeds $1400 USD. 

         The fundamental tool of our work is our car. Without a car, we are out of work. The ones that suffer the most in this work are our cars. In 1 year, we can easily put around 30,000 miles or more working. At the end of the year, we have no money saved, we have absolutely nothing. How do we perform any repairs that may arise? How can we change our cars after 3 years when they have lost between 60% or 80% of their value and we don't have funds to cover that devaluation?  

-          The level of abuse that Uber and Lyft have led us to have turned us into very poorly paid slaves to the point that to earn some money we must work 12 hours a day or more and 7 days a week. We don't have time for our families, we don't have time for our children, we don't have time to rest, we don't have time to do other activities, we can't afford to take some vacations, we don't have the right to anything because what we earn just forces us to have to work all the time. You may say, ok, if it's that bad, why you don’t get another job. The thing is, this is a good job, and it’s a job that can be well paid, but due to the lack of control and regulations is that all this happens. On top of that, looking for a decent job these days is not an easy task in South Florida. I have been looking for months for a job that is well paid based on my studies and knowledge without having any luck.  For many others, leaving the city or state is not an option.  

-          Uber and Lyft's new Up-Front Price system is a strategic mechanism that allows them to dramatically increase their profits. They put a limit on our earnings while they control their own profit limits. It's because we, the drivers, are no longer the fundamental economic factor in this job. 

-          When Uber or Lyft offers a ride to a driver, the driver is forced to follow a route marked by Uber. In Miami, the problem with blocked streets is quite common due to construction, repairs and accidents occur very frequently which causes us to take alternative routes. Sometimes Uber and Lyft send us shorter routes to the destination but have a very long delay time. If we decide to take the long, faster route, Uber and Lyft don't pay for the work properly. We are practically forced to do what they present to us.  

-          The Lyft company coerces drivers through pressure strategies. If we drivers are self-employed, we decide what work we do or don't do and how we do it. When a Lyft driver declines a certain number of rides, the system automatically notifies them that their account is at risk of being deactivated. In one way or another, it forces its drivers to take all kinds of jobs. Usually, 95% of the jobs are very poorly paid.  

-          The competition between Uber and Lyft is another reason why our profits have suffered. Both companies have struggled for years with their costs by looking for who charges the least for services. This is not acceptable when none of those companies provides 100% of the resources for their operation. Prices must be regulated and controlled in a way that protects the people who invest the most resources to do the work. Competition between these companies must be based solely and exclusively on  


§  The costs of the services without affecting the earnings of their drivers.  


§  The quality of customer service they offer. 


§  The quality of service offered by their drivers. 


§  The quality of their cars. 


§  The offers that the company can offer to its customers. 


§  Offer a service with trained and responsible drivers who maintain a high level of ratings. 


SECURITY ISSUES 


As I mentioned earlier, I've been working with Uber and Lyft since 2014-2015, when these companies were not yet legally practicing in the state. Many of the problems we're seeing today didn't exist before 2017, the year Dara became Uber's new CEO. Nowadays there are too many problems that put the economy, the safety of drivers and the safety of customers at risk.  


Due to Uber and Lyft's strategy of acquiring new drivers in an exaggerated way which manages to saturate the market, due to the great reduction in the profits obtained by drivers, due to the degradation of cars and their categories, the drivers of these Ridesharing platforms have had to reinvent themselves and go outside the legal framework to achieve reasonable economic gains. The problems this has created will be explained shortly. 

Uber and Lyft's security methods are constantly flouted. Of all these ridesharing platforms, only Uber uses a biometric facial scanning system as a security method. It's their only security tool, which is easily circumvented. Lyft and InDrive don't have any security tools. Currently in Uber, Lyft and InDrive there are people doing this work without having a legal status in the country, without having a driver's license and without having car insurance on many occasions because they use the accounts of other people with different cars. Due to the lack of security in these applications, many of the accounts that exist are created with stolen identities and marketed mainly on social networks. The most affected area is Uber Eats services, where an estimated 70% of accounts are either fake or used by people who are not actually the account owners.  


Uber knows that if they strengthen their security measures, they will lose a large part of the people who drive in all their services because many are people who have already been banned from the system and many are people without legal status in the country, who use fake accounts or those of other people close to them and sometimes even rented. We've heard feedback from people who have had as many as 64 Uber accounts. 


Let's go on to explain step by step what's happening with security issues. 

-          As mentioned above. These rideshare companies, in their struggle to increase their numbers in profits, have pushed drivers to earn as little as possible. In other words, they have reduced our profits and they have increased the cost of services. They are looking for the greatest margin for themselves while enslaving us. What kind of problems does this generate? Well, drivers make trips outside of the Uber and Lyft platforms without having the required permits from the city. Drivers should be parked inside the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports. We know that Miami Dade County has been executing some police operations because of this activity, but to date it continues to occur late at night. They calculate at what time there are no police and inspectors to do it. Miami Dade County does not have any constant monitoring in the area where it is practiced. There is also the possibility that the car traffic control inspectors in the Arrivals and Departures terminal will be bribed since there are never inspectors where the practices are carried out. A few years ago Miami Airport had inspectors who used electric 2-wheelers who monitored the entire Arrivals area to avoid prolonged parking of cars, stagnation and this avoided this type of activity. I have even seen them in the Departures area offering rides to people. Why were those inspectors removed? This problem currently exists anywhere in South Florida. People arrive at the venues and offer services off the platforms and even use Taxi signs in their cars. Drivers often use the Uber and Lyft platforms to reach customers and then offer them the same ride at a lower cost but paying them directly in cash or by debit or credit card. These people walk around with their phones in their hands as if they had to pick up a passenger using a photo of a trip to imitate the app. Not long ago I saw an airport inspector talking to one of these drivers and he didn't give him a fine or report it. After that I have seen the same person every night at the MIA offering rides to people that are waiting. This has never been seen before in the Rideshare market and is growing progressively without measuring the consequences of the problems that can be generated by transporting a person without the necessary coverage and permits. This is the result of the fact that, 


A.    Drivers make less money and must drive many more hours. It is logical that they look for ways to increase their profits at any cost. 

B.     The large number of drivers on the streets. 

C.     There is no regulation that puts order in our activities. 

D.    The lack of control and oversight over our activities. 

E.     Uber and Lyft's constant abuse of their drivers 

-          The only system Uber uses to control who drives for its platform is a biometric facial scanning system that is easily circumvented. They know this and yet since they implemented this security measure in 2020, they have not improved it. Why? It's simple. They know that a large part of their drivers are people who use other people's accounts that can be obtained by stolen identities, accounts of friends or family. How do they circumvent this security measure? Simple.  


§  Uber's app doesn't stick to just 1 device, preventing drivers from being able to open the app on multiple devices at the same time (something they can do by using the device's registration in the system with the CCID number, the device's serial number, or the MAC Address). People can have the Uber app on any number of devices and on all of them have the app with the user session open. The only thing Uber or Lyft doesn't allow is being connected on 2 or more devices at the same time.  


§  When the system triggers biometric verification, if the driver is using the account of another person who is a friend or family member, they simply contact them and ask them to open the Uber app and perform the face scan. This family member or friend is disconnected and the other person once they connect no longer must do the biometric verification. Another method is to grab the phone and bring it to the person in person for a facial scan. In the case of people who do only the Uber Eats service, they do not need to go through this security check, so it is the preferred job of undocumented people or people without permits to work in the USA. This is also where the mobile food delivery apps DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, etc. come in.  


§  Uber has been repeatedly required that when there are high risks of fraud, the biometric system must be done more often, at least between 3 and 5 times a day, and control the operation of the accounts to see irregularities in the operation of the verification, such as the entry and exit of the user session on different devices.  

-          The use of narcotics while working on these Shared Services platforms is another frequent problem. In the parking lot of Miami International Airport, you can often smell marijuana. Where marijuana is consumed, other products are consumed. Some drivers have even commented that drugs are sold and consumed in the parking lot. Who in their right mind uses drugs while offering a passenger transportation service? What security measures do these platforms use against these practices? None. They leave this security to their customers, trusting that they will report them if they notice something irregular in the driver. In a survey that we have been carrying out for some time, many clients tell us that they do not report the smell of marijuana, alcohol, or irregularities in how the driver behaves because they are embarrassed to damage the only main income of the drivers. Many customers don't want to burden their conscience with these types of actions.  

-          Non-Uber and Lyft apps that help generate more revenue. Many people have long used apps like MicroDroid to automate the operation of Uber, Lyft and now InDrive, which puts many drivers at a disadvantage from receiving few good ride deals. Apps are also used to circumvent the driver's actual position and affect the operation of the queue of cars at Miami International Airport. This has been reported to Uber for years and to date the problem persists because Uber has not forced drivers to update its driver app to latest version. The queue for Premier SUV service at the airport is the most affected because it is the category that generates the best profits among all. In other words, Uber and Lyft are enabling all sorts of activities that affect the flow of work and opportunities for all drivers. 

-          When these platforms work focused on acquiring drivers at the level at which they are working, they put both customers and other drivers at risk. There are currently many people driving for Uber, Lyft and InDrive who do not have the necessary skills and knowledge of the areas to do this job. That is why on many occasions we see people going in the opposite direction to the roads, they do not respect traffic signs, they drive at high speeds with customers in cars, they drive aggressively and many of them are the cause of accidents. When the work that is done involves the investment of a large amount of resources and is subjected to a lot of stress, but at the same time it is not well paid, people tend not to value such work and take care of it at all costs. For this reason, irregularities, and problems with Rideshare companies have increased.  

-          An increase in sexual assault and robbery on rideshare platforms is also the result of acquiring drivers in large quantities. This is also because registration is a very simple process, and anyone can try it.  

-          It should be added that the background checks that these platforms use are soft. 


All the problems and situations that have been mentioned in this letter could have been avoided long ago if the state of Florida and local governments had taken the necessary steps to regulate this market. The breakdown of activities, the violations of these companies against their drivers, the bad actions of those who carry out these activities and the access to allow undocumented people to work are the result of bad legal practices. It is important to note that when an illegal person has access to some type of work, they will accept any type of payment, no matter how low, which affects the cost of services for those who work legally. This being the biggest problem, it opens the way for companies to reduce what they pay for services and exploit them. In addition to the other factor which is not being properly regulated.  


Each person who signs this letter is aware that change is needed and that the abuses to which we have been exposed for years must be eliminated. In the same way, we demand immediate solutions.  


Finally, through this letter we want to present our complaints and demands to the following individuals and entities in the State of Florida. Our goal is to seek a fair and peaceful solution for all people who wish to work honestly and professionally. At the same time, obtain the profits that are commensurate with the resources used to carry out this work:

 

MIAMI DADE COUNTY 

Daniella Levine Cava (Mayor of Miami County) 

BROWARD COUNTY 

Lamar Fisher (Broward County Mayor) 

WEST PALM BEACH COUNTY 

Keith James (Mayor of West Palm County) 

STATE OF FLORIDA 

Ron DeSantis (Governor of the state of Florida) 

Julie Su (Head of Department of Labor) 

Jimmy Patronis (Head of Florida Department of Financial Services)   


PETITIONS AND DEMANDS TO FLORIDA STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS 


1.      As a first demand, we want to ask the government of Miami Dade, together with the governments of Broward, West Palm and Monroe, to incorporate Rideshare drivers into their corresponding counties. This step will take control over drivers away from platforms like Uber and Lyft.  


2.      When drivers are incorporated into the state, we must proceed to acquire the For-Hire Transportation license or For-Hire Chauffeur License & Training Program. Every person interested in driving for Uber, Lyft, or any other Rideshare mobile app listed must be required to purchase one of these licenses.


3.      We demand that the state limit the number of licenses granted or require Rideshare platforms to limit the number of people allowed on their platforms to control the saturation of the service on the streets. The number of drivers allowed on the streets cannot be calculated according to the city’s population. In Miami, the number of people who use their cars even to go out drinking, to concerts, outdoor activities, games, events, etc. is extremely high. Since many of the drivers operate multiple platforms, the number of drivers cannot be distributed among Rideshare companies, but a total. Then the drivers decide what company work for. It could be 1 or both. 


4.      The estimated number of drivers to be allowed assets should be calculated according to the number of trips the platforms make daily by county. This estimate should offer each driver the possibility of making a minimum of 20 to 25 trips per day. The number of drivers should not exceed an unreasonable number as we are demanding that what is currently happening in the Rideshare market continue. 


5.      We demand that local governments require Rideshare drivers to register their cars with the county to verify that they are eligible to offer transportation services. This is because many of the cars are currently driving in the city without having the proper mechanical and aesthetic conditions.  


6.      We ask the county to create the necessary regulations under the For-Hire Transportation or For-Hire Chauffeur License & Training Program to control driving requirements on Rideshare platforms, such as the inclusion of  

A.    A background checks. 

B.     Drug Screening. 

C.     Proof that the person has legal status to work in the country. 


7.      Do not allow the registration of more than 2 cars under 1 person. This could be done for the purpose of renting them to other people to work on the Rideshare platforms. This could lead to people with no legal documents working in the county. 


8.      Since these applications are only for working on Rideshare platforms, we ask that the Rideshare Endorsement offered by personal auto insurance companies be included as an option to be used when registering cars for services in the county. Since Uber and Lyft have a wide category of services and cars, forcing us to obtain commercial insurance is not convenient for low-category drivers due to its high costs. Commercial Insurance may be optional for those offering luxury or limousine services and are interested in work out of Rideshare apps. 


9.      We, the drivers of the Rideshare platforms, want to offer the counties 5% of our gross profits after Uber and Lyft deductions as Rideshare fee.  


10.  We demand to limit drivers from other cities than Miami Dade, West Palm and Broward to not being able to exercise Rideshare services in Miami Dade County. 


11.  We ask Miami Dade County that if Broward and West Palm Beach counties do not regulate their drivers, they cannot drive in Miami Dade. Similarly, drivers in Miami Dade County are not allowed to drive outside of their county limits for Rideshare platforms. 


12. We demand protection for drivers to not be suspended from Rideshare apps. A list of possible reasons why a driver may be removed from the platform must be created but we cannot feel threatened that any mistake we make could cost us the possibility of continuing to work. 


13. The revision of the new Rideshare app InDrive. They are not offering any type of Commercial Insurance to drivers leaving them responsible 100% of any incident with their personal auto insurance.  


REQUESTS AND DEMANDS TO UBER AND LYFT 


1.      We require Uber and Lyft to take a one-time discount of 20% of our gross earnings. This market started 2014 – 2015 with this proposal and we demand it back. If Uber and Lyft's business model failed with respect to how to generate their profits, it is not the drivers' responsibility to cover their losses or mismanagement of their business. The only money Uber and Lyft are allowed to deduct from what customers pay is their earnings. We are not willing to pay another tax or the cost of some of the services of these companies.  


2.      We demand that Uber eliminate Premier and Premier SUV services and reinstate Uber Black and Uber Black SUV services. 


3.      We require Uber and Lyft to remove the Up-Front Price and return the Estimated Price with the following per-mile and per-time rates, which may be affected depending on demand. During times of high demand, costs must be increased according to market behavior.    

-          UberX Cost Per Mile: $1.69 USD  Cost Per Minute: $0.56 USD 

Fare Base: $8 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.43 USD. Wait Time per Minute at Stops: $0.22 USD 

-          Comfort Cost Per Mile: $1.71 USD Cost Per Minute: $0.56 

Fare Base: $8 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.43 USD. Wait Time per Minute at Stops: $0.22 USD   

-          UberXL Cost Per Mile: $1.83 USD Cost Per Minute: $0.56 

Fare Base: $8 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.75 USD. Wait time per minute at stops: $0.23 USD.   

-          Uber Pet Cost Per Mile: $1.83 USD Cost Per Minute: $0.56 

Fare Base: $8 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.75 USD. Wait time per minute at stops: $0.23 USD.  

-          Uber Green Cost Per Mile: $1.89 USD Cost per minute: $0.61 Fare Base: $8 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.89 USD. Wait time per minute at stops: $0.24 USD.   

-          Uber Black Cost Per Mile: $2.28 USD Cost Per Minute: $0.79 Base Fare: $10 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.75 USD. Wait time per minute at stops: $0.45 USD. 

         Uber Black SUV Cost Per Mile: $2.92 USD Cost Per Minute: $0.89 Base Fare: $13.50 USD. Miles and time begin to be counted from the first mile driven. Waiting time for pick-up after 2 minutes of arrival. Depending on the current demand, the cost may be higher: $1.75 USD. Wait time per minute at stops: $0.45 USD.   


4.      We demand that Uber and Lyft maintain dynamic faring or better known as Increased Pricing in dependence on high demands at the discretion of Uber and Lyft. How it worked from the beginning. 


5.      We demand that Uber and Lyft eliminate the use of mobile apps such as MicroDroid and Fake GPS that aim to disrupt the workflow of drivers.  


6.      We demand that Uber and Lyft under no circumstances remove drivers from their platforms for trivial reasons. They must establish a series of reasons that, if violated, drivers can be suspended from the platforms. Because many customers take advantage of the system to make false reports and obtain benefits such as a return on ride costs, Uber and Lyft must conduct a thorough investigation before removing any driver permanently. Drivers who are reported for any reason should be free to continue working until the investigation is concluded.  


7.      We demand the elimination of Area Bonuses and Missions. We demand fair pay for our work and an increase in rates according to demand.  


8.      Regarding the 5% payment to the county. We do NOT want this payment to be made from the profits made by the Rideshare companies. We demand that this 5% be paid directly from our gross profit per trip after 20% of the Rideshare companies are deducted from our net. This equates to a total of $20 for Radeshare companies and $4 for the county for every $100 drivers earn. Leaving drivers with a total of $76 USD for every $100 charged.  


9.      In the case Miami Dade is the only county to enforce the regulations, drivers from the rest of the counties are not allowed to drive in Miami Dade. If a driver leaves Miami Dade County, they must return to the boundaries of Miami Dade to continue working. If all 3 counties join the regulation plan, drivers from each county can drive in any of the 3 counties listed above.  


10.  Finally. Our work and our earnings are non-negotiable. 

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