Uber entices drivers with US$250m 'stimulus'

With more people in the United States getting vaccinated, cities are beginning to get back to business and demand for Uber rides is reviving, according to mobility vice president Dennis Cinelli. — Reuters pic
With more people in the United States getting vaccinated, cities are beginning to get back to business and demand for Uber rides is reviving, according to mobility vice president Dennis Cinelli. — Reuters pic

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 8 ― Uber yesterday launched a US$250 million (RM1.03 million) “stimulus” plan to lure wary drivers back to the platform as demand for rides outstrips supply.

With more people in the United States getting vaccinated, cities are beginning to get back to business and demand for Uber rides is reviving, according to mobility vice president Dennis Cinelli.

However, Uber can't say the same for its ranks of “gig worker” drivers, who are free to leave their cars at the curb if they wish.

“In 2020, many drivers stopped driving because they couldn't count on getting enough trips to make it worth their time,” Cinelli said in a blog post.

“In 2021, there are more riders requesting trips than there are drivers available to give them ― making it a great time to be a driver.”

The US$250 million in stimulus money will be used to boost US-based driver earnings already higher than usual due to less competition from peers at the service, according to Uber.

The ride-hailing giant offer no specifics on how it would allocate the funds for each driver.

Figures provided by the service indicated drivers are making, on average, more than US$25 an hour before tips in an array of US cities.

“We want drivers to take advantage of higher earnings now because this is likely a temporary situation,” Cinelli said.

“As the recovery continues, we expect more drivers will be hitting the road, which means that over time earnings will come back to pre-Covid levels.”

Uber reported another hefty loss in the final three months of 2020, as the smartphone-summoned ride business struggled during the pandemic. ― AFP

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