In June of last year, Uber launched the “180 days of change” program that was to make changes requested by drivers, such as tipping and compensation for the time spent waiting for passengers.
“We realized that a lot of drivers don’t even realize that they’re on these , and then they get a bonus later,” says Yuhki Yamashita, Uber’s product manager for driver experiences. “They don’t realize throughout that’s happening because the app really doesn’t put that information in the forefront. It was pretty much buried. So those are some of the areas that we want to make sure that drivers have a lot of visibility into.”
“I’m curious to see how the ‘gamification of driving for Uber’ continues as I don’t think Uber and its drivers always have interests that are aligned,” says Harry Campbell, a former Uber driver who runs The Rideshare Guy website. “Drivers want to work as little as possible for as much money as possible, which is why surge rides and the weekly promotions are so important. Uber is looking to maximize a driver’s efficiency and get them to work more for the same amount of money.”
“Some of the suggestions that we might have for a way to go next may actually surprise them,” Yamashita says. “It turns out that a lot of people kind of have this pattern they build up based on tribal knowledge — you know, their daily habits on how to drive. It may be that conditions change, and they don’t have all the information necessary to make the right moves.”
On Tuesday, the company unveiled a new app for its drivers. This new app includes a real-time earnings tracker, which is the latest effort by the ride-hailing service to improve the company-driver relationship. The new app will also introduce a new status bar to help drivers decide their next location based on a spike in requests, along with a notification feature that allows drivers to see messages about upcoming earnings opportunities and feedback from riders among other things.
The rollout follows a Beta version developed with the drivers, Uber said.
The company, which is preparing for a potential initial public offering in 2019, lost $4.5 billion last year and is facing fierce competition at home in the United States and across Asia, as well as a regulatory crackdown in Europe.