Uber drivers have been clamoring for a better working condition that will give them access to some benefits—in a nutshell, they would rather be treated as employees rather than as contract staff. To achieve this, drivers have been rallying support for legislation that could make them earn their minimum wage, protection as workers, and a couple of other benefits. To this end, Uber has just added some new features to the app that will benefit both existing and experienced drivers and novices.
Uber has now added a simulated strip through the app to show what it would look like when you hit the road—and this is specifically designed for first time Uber drivers. The simulated strip is like a tutorial, which will help guide you as you pick and drop off your first passenger.
These new features, apart from keeping drivers already signed on to the app happy, will also serve as attractions for would-be drivers aiming to sign up. In addition, Uber has some redesigns including auto-accept that lets drivers toggle it on and off. What this means is that drivers don’t have to manually accept the next ride if they are on a roll. This feature will come in handy for those drivers trying to earn bonuses for completing consecutive trips in a particular period of time—it is hands-free, and something a lot of drivers would love.
The long trip notifications have also been updated; and trips over 45 minutes long is getting a look-in. Until now, trips over 45 minutes long are flagged, but Uber is now working to be more specific if rides cross the 45-minute threshold. Riders embarking on trips that will be more than three hours away will be informed exactly how long the trip is and will also be informed and given the chance to pass on the ride.
Drivers, according to Mashable, now have the chance to specify why a trip is being cancelled on the app. This gives them a sort of “proof” if in the future there is a dispute as regards the cancellation. Instead of waiting after cancelling, drivers can now indicate different reasons why a cancellation was made such as “can’t find rider” or “luggage doesn’t fit in car” or unaccompanied minor.” The Uber app will now display any advice or actions a driver can take, including calling or texting the rider that was not found.
A couple of weeks ago, the California State Assembly passed a bill that would classify gig economy workers (like Uber and Lyft drivers) as employees if they do not perform work “outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.”
Ride-hail drivers across cities in the US had embarked on strike last month to press on demand for better working condition. The drivers had protested against among other things, poor working conditions, and a lack of transparency from Uber.