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2020 marks six years of Uber in Hong Kong, and with the support of riders and driver-partners, Uber has served a quarter of the population in Hong Kong with safe and reliable rides options to move around the City. 

We want to take this opportunity to thank each driver-partner, delivery-partner, restaurant-partner and the millions of users for their extraordinary support over the past six years!

However, regulatory uncertainty holds back further investment and hangs over Uber’s 14,000 active driver-partners. 

Surge in sign-ups amidst the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a surge in sign-ups on Uber. During the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, there was a 40% increase in the number of new Uber driver-partners signing up, in addition to a 100% increase in the number of new delivery-partners signing up to Uber Eats. Furthermore, since January 2020 there has been a 78% increase in the number of taxi driver-partners signing up.

Survey shows Hong Kongers turning to Uber to offset losses caused by pandemic 

Uber recently conducted a survey of almost 3,000 of its driver-partners to understand the challenges they face during the pandemic. The survey found the most common reason for signing up to Uber is the need to make up for lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic (28% of respondents), closely followed by the need to cover ongoing family expenses (24%).

Driver-partners who have other sources of income overwhelmingly reporting that these have been negatively impacted by the pandemic (91.5%).  The survey also showed that 30% of driver-partners with other sources of income were self-employed, whereas others worked in sectors such as catering and retail and would need the flexibility of the Uber platform to find earning opportunities amidst economic uncertainty.

Previous surveys show that taxis sign up to drive on Uber because with Uber’s pairing technology and algorithms, Taxis can reduce idle time between trips and take more orders during peak hours. This can increase their earnings by 20%, which has become more important than ever during the pandemic.

Riders turning to Uber amid improved safety features

COVID-19 has changed the way that people travel. Despite the broad drop in movement as Hong Kongers did their part to socially distance, Uber recorded a 30% increase in the average number of times users chose Uber for their trips, as compared to trips taken before the pandemic. Uber also found that Hong Kongers increasingly chose Uber as their preferred mode of transportation for special occasions. There was a 31% increase on Father’s Day, 14% increase on Dragon Boat Festival, and 13% increase on Mother’s Day compared to the previous year. Tips for partners on the platform also accumulated to over HK$3,000,000 across Uber Rides and Uber Eats since being introduced this year.

There has also been a significant increase in Uber Taxi commute trips, which increased by 87% and 37% month-over-month in February and March during the first and second wave of pandemic outbreak respectively. This has coincided with new safety measures, including facemask verification, and alongside pre-existing features such as contactless payment and contact tracing.

 Estyn Chung, General Manager of Uber Hong Kong said:

“We’ve crossed significant milestones in the past six years and have deeply integrated our products to match the pulse of Hong Kong. Especially during the pandemic, we take pride in providing an extra source of income for over 14,000 active Uber driver-partners, as well as tailored products to serve over a quarter of Hong Kongers who use Uber. 

The pandemic reminded us of the important role Uber plays in Hong Kong, especially as the platform helps Hong Kongers earn flexibly during challenging times and travel safely from point A to point B. However, in order to unlock more opportunities here — regulation is key. It’s now the time for the Government to address what the future of transportation looks like for Hong Kong, how we ensure Hong Kongers can continue to enjoy the benefits ridesharing brings to a city, and not lag behind the 10,000 global cities that embrace ridesharing. We continue to urge the Government and industry stakeholders to meet with us. With constructive dialogues, we are confident that all parties can find a win-win solution for the future of transportation in Hong Kong.

We continue to call on Hong Kongers to visit regulateuber.hk to show their support for ridesharing in Hong Kong so that Uber can keep powering Hong Kong for another six years and beyond.”