Uber's tense relationship with drivers for its affordable UberX service is well-documented, but even drivers for the company's high-end options are growing disappointed.
In a video recording of CEO Travis Kalanick riding in an high-end Uber Black car published by Bloomberg, the driver confronts Kalanick about the company's fare cuts, which Kalanick disputes. Fawzi Kamel has been driving for Uber since 2011, according to the report, and told Kalanick: "You changed the whole business. You dropped the prices."
The math: In 2012, Uber Black charged $4.90 per mile and $1.25 per minute in San Francisco, according to an old version of Uber's website Bloomberg checked. Today, the same service costs $3.75 per mile and $0.65 per minute. So it seems that while Kamal underestimates the cost—"How much is the mile now, $2.75?"—he is correct in that the prices have dropped since he started driving for Uber Black.
Kalanick says that Uber had to cut its costs to beat Lyft. "We have to; we have competitors; otherwise, we'd go out of business,'' Kalanick says. And then Kamal is dismissive of Lyft, Kalanick replies: "It seems like a piece of cake because I've beaten them. But if I didn't do the things I did, we would have been beaten, I promise."
Blame game: In perhaps the most jarring moment in the conversation, when Kamal told Kalanick that he "lost $97,000" and is "bankrupt" because of Uber's decisions, the CEO visibly loses his cool.
Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck! — Travis Kalanick
Kamal gives Kalanick a one-star rating after the ride.