As its name suggests Uber Care is truly about caring for our drivers. It was born after extensive dialogue with our driver partners, and an understanding of what they needed from us in order to have a richer, better life.
As we mark one year of #UberCare, I’m very proud of some key pillars of support that we have built for them.
Working Capital Support : Like all entrepreneurs, our driver partners also bear the burden of significant one-time expenses that often make their working capital management quite a complicated exercise.
These expenses range from someone in the family falling ill, to paying for their kids tuition. Our partners wanted support in helping them with credit to tide over such exigencies.
On the one hand, there’s banks that demand a ton of paperwork that’s tough for an entrepreneur to furnish, and on the other, there’s loan sharks that charge exorbitantly high interest rates. In both cases, finding the money was a challenge for our driver partners. Uber Care helps drivers access micro credit through short-term loans at low interest rates.
Fuel Credit cards are also made available to our driver partners, which they can use to manage their biggest expense – fuel, without having to pay upfront. Over the past year, our drivers received more than 356 million rupees in micro credits and another 387 million rupees in fuel credits.
Savings : Our drivers also want us to help them reduce expenses and increase their savings. We provide them access to vehicle servicing at much cheaper rates than the market through our tie ups with automakers and dealerships. They also got access to cheaper spare parts, and over the past year alone, more than 34,000 cars have been serviced through these tie ups.
Better Life for family: Drivers want access to quality health and education for their families. We have tied up with NGO Indus Action and facilitate admissions for their children into private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) scheme of the government.
One of our favorite partnerships is with ‘DocsApp’, which facilitates free doctor consultations for driver partners and their families. While we pray such occurrences are as few as possible, scores of driver partners have so far benefitted from the opportunity, and have sought free medical consultations for themselves and their loved ones. Beyond DocsApp, we were the first private organisation to partner with the government’s famed Ayushman Bharat scheme, to provide drivers free healthcare coverage worth 500,000 rupees across 15,000 hospitals in India.
Other schemes covering health, life and motor insurances at reduced rates, along with helping drivers file income tax returns have also been launched to aid our driver partners. Through the year, over 90,000 driver partners have benefited from these offerings.
The real joy though was not in the numbers but in hearing the stories behind these numbers. Be it the story of Abdullah whose son got admission through RTE, or Sanjeev who was able to get timely advice from doctors. The stories of driver partners who got access to money when they really needed it, are reasons that inspire us to come back to work everyday and do what we do, better than yesterday.
In 2020, we pledge to take Uber Care to even more driver partners and their families. As part of our wishlist, we hope that either we, our partners, or the government can help us with another big requirement of all our driver partners when they’re on the road – access to clean toilets!