So UBER came to Bucharest last february and people cheered. Finally, we got rid of the dirty cabs! First UBER testers and bloggers were impressed: clean cars, polite drivers, same prices as the cabs (0.31 euros per kilometer).

Some months went by and the Romanian management cut bonuses in half and then changed the way they gave those bonuses, in order to force drivers to work full time for UBER. So, those drivers with clean cars had no reason to drive for UBER, as the costs were too high and the fares, even if they were raised from 0.31 to 0.37 euros per kilometer, could not provide enough money for a salary.

Add in the mix the fact that a driver has to drive 6-10 kilometers across town to pickup a client, this thru a busy and crowded city, and the client gets upset if the UBER does not arrive in time. Gets upset, gives a low rating, driver gets no bonus, driver has no reason to continue to work for UBER and, bingo, fewer cars. Romanian management had the brilliant solution to lower the standards and allow drivers and cars that had no business to be allowd and the clients are asking why pay 0.37 for a dirty car and a rude driver when they could pay 0.30.

And while it claims to be a ridesharing app and taxi laws do not apply to them, UBER has asked drivers to obtain taxi licenses and pay their own taxes. The license part aside, the taxes add up to 30% from what UBER pays them, after they retain their 20%. Bottom line: driving for UBER makes less money than being a taxi driver. It’s gonna be a fun year.

Funfact: UBER operates from Holland, pays no taxes in Romania and is managed by Nicoleta Schroeder Diaconu, daughter of Gelu Stefan Diaconu, head of the Romanian IRS (ANAF).