April 13, 2018
By: Steven Anderson
Say what you will about Uber, but it’s been making a lot of changes lately. First it incorporates roadside assistance and some new discounts for drivers, and now a new report says it’s made it possible to tell just how much a driver makes in an evening with a new earnings tracker function.
The new CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, announced the move on a blog post describing how drivers are the “heart” of Uber service, but Uber wasn’t exactly acting like that was the case all along. Khosrowshahi noted that the company had focused so hard on growth that it wasn’t paying much attention to the part of the business that actually made growth happen, and started making changes accordingly.
Part of a larger overall initiative known as 180 Days of Change, Uber has been retooling its operations in several major ways. It actually turned to the drivers themselves and asked them what was missing or what should have been changed in the app. That’s a change from earlier methods, which commonly featured Uber making changes and hoping that the drivers would approve later, or not, whichever.
The Earnings Tracker function was just one change, however, as there’s also a new Status Bar which offers not only updates on the local market, but also access to more opportunities to drive in the area.
It would be easy to cynically dismiss this as a way to keep drivers in the fold, or as a means to curry favor with the London government that effectively tossed Uber out on its ear a few months back. In all likelihood, the cynics are at least partially right here; businesses really don’t do anything unless it somehow benefits the business, whether through tax deductions, reduced employee turnover—it’s expensive to keep replacing employees—or improved public perception and thus increased chance of doing business with that public. With London appeals still going as of this February, that’s not out of line either.
In the end, though, the drivers do benefit. Whether done altruistically for the sake of the drivers, or just to keep the business afloat, the end result is the same: it’s a lot better to be an Uber driver today than it was just six months ago.