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Not just for toddlers: Uber drivers get ‘timeouts’ if they turn down UberPool rides

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Uber drivers aren’t big fans of UberPool, according to CNN Money. If drivers turn down UberPool rides they take a chance of being shut out of the system from anywhere between 4 and 15 minutes. These timeouts, typically given after refusing two or three UberPool ride requests, limit the amount of money drivers can earn in a day and can make them feel they’re being treated like children.

The timeouts seem to contradict Uber’s insistence that its drivers are independent contractors. “True independent contractors have the freedom to decide when they want to work and what kind of work they want to do,” said Harvard Law School professor Benjamin Sachs. “By giving drivers timeouts, Uber is exercising the kind of control over its workforce that employers exercise over employees.”

Uber sends ride requests to the nearest driver in most cases. The company wants high driver ride-acceptance rates because that means riders get quicker service and are therefore more likely to use Uber the next time they need a ride. When CNN asked Uber about the timeout policy the company didn’t provide any detail but referred to its general policy under which drivers with low acceptance rates can be logged out of the service temporarily.

Uber makes the case for UberPool by stating that riders are able to get discounted rides in peak times by riding with other people on trips to and from similar locations. The company says drivers can make more money by carrying more fares. Drivers say it doesn’t work that way.

One former San Francisco driver, who drove for Uber for two years but has since stopped, said, “The pay is not worth it. You’re constantly running around putting wear and tear on your vehicle for small fares.”

Drivers also say UberPool rides hurt customer ratings. Riders used to direct transportation don’t like having to sidetrack to pick up another rider, who sometimes they don’t enjoy sitting next to. At the end of the ride, if the rider isn’t pleased the only way to express displeasure is to give the ride a poor rating.

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