Why putting drivers’ first means you are putting passengers first too

Riders love ridesharing.

Indeed, ridesharing comes with many benefits for the passengers. It is quick, affordable, and safe. The truth is that without ridesharing, many people wouldn’t be able to reach their destination. 

But is this a sentiment also shared by drivers? Are they as happy as their passengers?

The inconvenient truth is that they aren’t. Many drivers are unsatisfied with the industry as a whole and at the end of the day, they feel powerless. They often work more for less money and they are at the mercy of the next fee change from the platforms.

Does it have to be that way? And, if not, how can it be any other way?

Let’s take things from the beginning.

What Makes Rideshare Drivers Unhappy Today?

Before answering what makes rideshare drivers unhappy, we should see why this case is true.

For one thing, there is a driver shortage right now. 

Many drivers have applied for assistance programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, which is an SBA-backed loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. While this assistance is in play, many drivers are not finding working for a ridesharing platform worth it when they weigh earnings and expenses.

But even before the COVID-19 era, rideshare drivers were getting more dissatisfied by the day. Uber has reduced drivers’ pay by constantly taking more and more of the fare.

“I want people to know how powerless you feel when your income comes from a faceless app and when you open it up one morning, things are just different and you’re earning less money and there’s no boss you can talk to, you weren’t told about it, you just see your income is lower today and you just have to deal with it,” said Peter.


In 2019, just 47.8% of drivers said they were satisfied with their experience driving for Uber, a 10.4% drop compared to 2018. 2019 was also the year that saw a series of general strikes from the drivers, led by Rideshare Drivers United. During these strikes, Uber and Lyft drivers demanded that the companies pay their drivers a minimum wage of $28 an hour, which according to them amounts to $17 after gas, and other expenses.

In 2020, Uber sent out a survey to its drivers for feedback. And according to 98,410 answers, drivers are mostly unsatisfied with their dependability of earnings. 


Here’s a breakdown of everything that drivers don’t like.

Dependability of earnings 


Uber service fee

Promotions and incentives

Long pickups or deliveries

Quality of customer support 

Customer support is unhelpful

Poor communication

Takes too long to get an issue resolved

Hard to reach or get an answer

Responsiveness to feedback

More engagement with corporate representatives

Making sure feedback is taken seriously

App performance and features

App is glitchy or buggy

Navigation/GPS should be improved

How to Put Drivers Back on the Wheel (Literally & Metaphorically)

Ridesharing platforms want the drivers to come back to their apps – and fast. It’s no secret that ridesharing companies themselves lose a lot of money from the current situation

To tackle that, Uber announced in April that it was launching a $250 million “stimulus” for drivers. On the other hand, Lyft started offering $800 bonuses to drivers who return to the app. On top of that, Lyft is giving a bonus to every driver that makes a trip for over 9 minutes.

Most drivers, however, don’t seem very happy with these campaigns. These kinds of money bonuses look like plaster on a heavy wound. Drivers are looking for more essential changes; changes that are bound to their payment – not an occasional handout.


Drivers need to feel respected and know that they are getting paid their fair share. Right now, they feel they are nothing more than something corporate has to put up with until autonomous cars start roaming the streets, eliminating them completely.

How It Can Be a Win-Win for Drivers, Riders and Ridesharing Platforms

The customer is always right but drivers have rights, too. Right now, drivers feel less cared for than riders. It’s up to the ridesharing platforms to change.

The gig economy is a marketplace and every marketplace needs sellers and buyers alike to work effectively.

If ridesharing platforms want to put drivers back on the wheel then they should, first and foremost, hear out their drivers. Ridesharing platforms need to be more driver-centric. Otherwise, they’d have to get used to the shortage while handling the frustration that comes from their customers from said shortage.

A paradigm shift needs to be made – one that can create a better and more viable future for the rideshare industry.

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