In June this year, we held our first bi-annual Driver-Partner Advisory Forum in Sydney with 14 driver-partner Advisors from across Australia to discuss ‘earnings’ and ‘maps, pick up and drop off, and navigation’.
This was our first forum with the new group of Advisors and we’re very excited to engage with them over the next two years.
Uber’s General Manager, Dom Taylor, as well as our Product Manager (maps and pickup experience) from Uber’s head office in San Francisco were among the members of the Uber team present to listen to advisors’ feedback.
To start off the forum, Advisors told us what they enjoyed the most about driving with Uber. Some of the highlights include:
- Flexibility and the love of meeting new people
- Ability to work around a childcare schedule
- Helping people get home safe and providing great customer service.
“In the evening after a full day of work, turning on the Uber app and picking up different people really helps me unwind and detox from my busy day.”
‘Have Your Say’ Survey Report
We want to thank the 4,300+ driver-partners who shared their views on ‘earnings’ and ‘maps, pickup and drop off, and navigation’ via the Have Your Say Survey which ran from 6-12 June.
Advisors were given a copy of their responses and brought diverse perspectives to the discussion. The feedback helped us better understand the challenges driver-partners face and how we can improve the driving experience with Uber.
The top 3 ‘earnings’ related topics that you wanted to discuss were:
- cost of driving (fuel, maintenance, insurance)
- types of tips (short trips, long trips, reservations)
Your feedback showed that:
- Costs of driving and living are increasing and driver-partners feel this in the rise of fuel prices, vehicle maintenance and insurance.
- Long pick ups for short trips that take driver-partners too far from their original location, not showing trip duration and destination, and wait time restrictions on Reserve trips are major pain points.
- Driver-partners get frustrated with surge, especially when they drive towards the surge location and find out there is no surge. They also say that surge has recently decreased.
“Fuel is expensive, maintenance is also double now. Insurance is also going up. Not enough earnings”
“Short trips as I reported many times to the support team travel time on Short trips is costing me a lot of ⛽️”– driver-partner quotes* from the Have Your Say Survey.
“I was in the surge hotspot, and there were no other Uber drivers-partners within the vicinity, and as soon as I accepted a ride, the surge disappeared. How can that be when I am the only driver-partner within the surge vicinity”
* Quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Forum Discussion on ‘earnings’
The results of the Have Your Say survey helped lay the foundation for the discussion on ‘earnings’. Advisors were able to provide real-world examples and bring context to some of the problems they face while driving. Below is a summary of the main discussion points:
- Fuel discounts and holiday promotions help with earnings
- Higher earnings through Premier and Reserve
- Frequent trips
Some of the key concerns and suggestions for improvement include:
- Earnings are not keeping up with the rise in the cost of living, especially with the cost of fuel. Driver-partners prefer to know their potential earnings in advance. To address this, advisors suggest that Uber review the current service fees and take steps to help adjust earnings to keep up with the cost of living and driving. In addition, Uber could also provide more partnerships for other services like insurance.
- Reserve is a great product but doesn’t work in some areas. Advisors suggest that Uber show estimated earnings on the offer card and expand the Reserve feature to other areas of Australia. Advisors say that having guaranteed booking through Reserve helps with earnings.
- Long pick ups are not adequately compensated. Advisors suggest that there should be a higher fare if the ride includes a long pick up.
- Cancellations within 5 mins incur no fee, even though they use up driver-partners’ time. Advisors suggest that the time period when riders can cancel with no fee should be shortened to 2 minutes.
- Surge disappears when driver-partners drive towards the area. Advisors’ note that surge is important to driver-partners’ earnings and that it needs to be more accurate. They also suggest that the surge multiplier could be replaced with an estimated number of rides a driver-partner is getting in the area.
Forum Discussion on ‘maps, pick up and drop off, and navigation’
With a product manager from Uber’s head office in San Francisco present to listen to the discussion, advisors provided context to the problems they faced while using Uber maps, and picking up and dropping off riders. Below is a summary of the main discussion points:
What’s working well?
- Uber maps routes are usually accurate and picked the fastest route possible
- The Uber map is easy to understand. The navigation voice helps with directions.
- The live location feature helps in pickups, and is accurate
Some of the key concerns and suggestions for improvement include:
- City-level changes are not reflected on the map. Uber maps sometimes suggest illegal or incorrect routes. Advisors suggest that Uber should allow driver-partners to report map changes in the moment or soon after.
- There are no Uber specific pick up points like there are for taxis and riders can pin a location where it is illegal for vehicles to stop. Advisors suggested liaising with the local government to provide specific pick up points for Uber rides. In addition, riders should not be able to pin their location where it is illegal for a car to stop (especially on bus zones, or no stopping zones).
- Driver-partners don’t know if the pick up location is on their left or right, and trip offers occur as you drive past the rider, creating a long pick up. Advisors noted that Uber can provide a way where the maps can predict where the rider will be when the driver-partner accepts the job. One advisor suggested that Uber Beacon be introduced to Australia.
- There is no compensation for last minute pick up changes. Advisors said that driver-partners should be paid for the pick up rather than just the trip.
Other points discussed:
The Advisors also raised the following points during the discussion:
- Request a review of the cleaning fee policy, especially for driver-partners who drive mostly during party hours.
- Driver-partners who drive eligible vehicles should be able to request upcharges when Uber X requests have more than 4+ passengers.
- Work with local governments to enable driver-partners to utilise more spaces to pick up and drop off passengers.
- Create more partnerships with vehicle service providers to enable more driver-partner discounts
- Allow riders to use more payment options.
- Understand the difference between the way driver-partners drive with Uber in regional and metro areas.
We want to thank all the driver-partners that participated in the first Forum, from the Advisors who engaged with us in the Forum to driver-partners who provided their feedback during the ‘Have Your Say’ survey.
We are developing further recommendations based on the discussion points to help improve the driver-partner experience. We plan to share updates on our progress through ‘The Pit Stop’, Uber’s quarterly newsletter that focuses on the actions we’ve taken in response to feedback from you.
Be part of the next Advisory Forum in October 2023!
There are two ways to get involved and provide feedback on your experience with driving with the Uber app: talking to an Advisor via ‘Open Hours’ and answering the ‘Have Your Say Survey’. Instructions on how to participate in both will be sent to your Driver app inbox. Keep an eye out for them!
Results from these two feedback channels will help shape the next Forum discussion.
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