The initial boom of rideshare industry news which detailed the Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, taking an extended period of leave from the company has slowly subsided, but Uber is still dominating the headlines. There have been a lot of rumours and hearsay since the incident, which has left many drivers feeling low about using the company. However, in a bid to turn things around, Uber has announced that by the end of July 2017, drivers will be benefiting from a whole host of new features to improve their lives and business.
Commonly referred to as the ‘180 days of changes’, Uber plans to invest and implement a ton of new features that will help to improve the driving experience for the company, the passengers, and most importantly, the drivers. The main proposed feature has been talked about since 2014 yet never implemented; tipping.
An email that was rolled out to drivers explained that; “For the next 180 days, we’ll be making meaningful changes… some will be big, and some will be small… all will be the changes you have asked for.”
Uber Adds a Tip Feature for Drivers
Tipping was one of the main features that Uber drivers have been asking for years to update and was a feature that was readily available on rival applications such as Lyft, a company that prides itself on this feature. When an Uber job has been finished, passengers will have the ability to rate their driver as usual but afterwards, will be given the option to tip.
The feature is completely optional to the passenger but will give drivers more to aim for within their personal service. It may also help to result in higher profits for drivers and lower turnover rates. Furthermore, these tips can be used to pay and cover payments that include rental or leasing payments that are usually subtracted from earnings.
Drivers to be Paid to Wait for Passengers
The next best feature that is expected to roll out is the fact that drivers will be paid if they are made to wait for passengers. As a driver, if you pull up to your pick-up location, you will have to wait a two-minute wait period. After this period is up, drivers will be paid for every minute they sit and wait for their passenger, another much sought-after feature.
In an on-demand economy that revolves around passenger rating of drivers, drivers have long had very little leverage. This feature gives drivers more control of how their time is spent, and allows them to maximize their earnings during that time.
Shortened Cancellation Times for Uber Rides
The final feature that drivers can expect is shorter cancellation times. Instead of being the usual five-minute period, if a passenger cancels their ride after two minutes, the drivers can be paid a fee.
Other extensive features, such as Driver Destinations, the ability for drivers to pick two daily locations where they will be operating that will channel rides to them in those areas, are expected to be integrated into the app over the next six months. The new tool will give drivers more control over their daily range of ride requests.
Fortunately for Uber drivers, the upgrades to the current system don't stop there. Outside the application, drivers will be given the opportunity to opt-in to Injury Protection Insurance. This will be charged at a flat rate and will firstly be available in the United States before being rolled out across the world.
After a controversial couple of weeks and an excess of uncertain drivers, Uber is finally putting their drivers first and now looking towards the future of the company. Once these updates are in place and the issues are ironed out, the company will be able to focus on increasing its market share as well as improving its infrastructure that will aim to place the company back at the top of the rideshare industry.
As this situation develops, we’ll know more and more about Uber’s plans for the future and how it will affect the rest of the rideshare industry. In the meantime, we’ll all just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that this is the beginning of a golden rideshare era. No one expects the sentiment to shift in Uber's favor overnight. If they are able to adjust, the benefits will not be seen immediately. For now, we still recommend that new drivers consider the current lyft sign up bonus. Lyft has long been known as the driver friendly rideshare option. They too have their issues, but they've managed to maintain a better standings in the majority of drivers eyes.
UPDATE: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been removed from the CEO position at Uber. There have been many talks of a full time replacement, but the position has yet to be filled. There were also rumors that Kalanick was plotting a return, and that he had stacked the Board of Directors in order to accomplish this. Recently a lawsuit was filed against Kalanick for his activity in stacking the BOD, making a come back less likely. With his questionable past, and the company trying to re brand its reputation, the future does not look bright for Kalanick.