Uber coddles drivers with more trip options, guaranteed fares, and bigger perks

Will more people join the non-taxi ranks?

Ever since Uber was able to exploit the idea of ​​federating the taxi service from badged drivers to independent contractors, it hasn’t been a pretty financial picture. The company itself only recently turned profits after more than a decade burning venture capital and a lot of drivers who have resorted to living off of the gig are struggling to stay afloat. Coming out of a pandemic-induced labor crisis, Uber is trying to make things more predictable, ergo, appealing for drivers to get them back into the game on a larger scale.

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Two new features to the Uber Driver app, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on a press release, will make drivers aware of what trips are available around them and how much they’ll make from them. Trip Radar and Upfront Fares have been in testing for months in different cities, but they’ll be everywhere in the US in a few months’ time. It’s a big improvement from the one-fare-at-a-time assignment system which gives no clear indication of where the driver will end up and how much they’ll make (and if they’ll be able to make it home for dinner ). Individual trip alerts will still pop up just as before, but the existence of these new tools should help drivers make informed decisions about their jobs.

A couple of other perks are also on the way, including a Mastercard-issued Uber Pro debit card and checking account. Drivers who complete more trips, cancel 3% of their trips or less, and average a driver rating of at least 4.7 gain points and higher Uber Pro statuses. The higher the status, the better the perks they’ll get like 7% cash back on gas for the top-grossing Diamond tier, though the base cash back tier is at 2%. Uber also offers between $50 and $150 in backup funding when drivers’ accounts are low, but that feature requires drivers to earn at least $700 every month.


Uber Pro rewards are also getting a boost for top tiers including Area Preferences to maximize trips where drivers want them and other benefits like free Rosetta Stone classes and a full online tuition for Arizona State University.

Uber and its cohorts alike have been scoring victories in state referendums and legislatures as drivers have not been bound to go from independent contractors to being employees (via Ballotpedia and Bloomberg Law). But with a tightening labor market for hirers, it seems ride-hailing companies have won only a part of the battle in the post-COVID era.

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