Uber is rolling out Uber Pro, a new program aiming to reward good drivers with perks and rewards for being loyal to the company. The rideshare company has partnered with Arizona State University to provide free tuition to qualifying drivers that reach a certain level in the company as a driver. In the wake of a string of bad days in the public eye, Uber has spent a large amount of 2018 trying to rebrand as a new company focused on the safety and well-being of both their drivers and passengers.
Uber Pro launched in 8 US cities over the last month. The feature gives more incentives to drivers who stay with the company longer. Up until now the rideshare company has seen a high turnover rate as unemployment rates drop lower. When other lower-paying jobs that compete with Uber started paying more. For example, when Amazon announced that it would be lobbying for a higher minimum wage and raising wages for its US-based employees, people looked toward the retail giant for jobs. Up until now only about 4% of Uber drivers stay over a year, according to a report from CNBC.
Uber’s 180 Days of Change
The launch of Uber Pro is part of Uber’s 180 Days of Change project to create a better work environment for Uber drivers. The changes began when Uber launched an option to allow users to tip their drivers in the summer of 2017. Prior to that change there was no way for drivers to accept tips from their passengers that weren’t in cash. Uber Pro will create a point system for drivers that commit to driving for the company full-time. Drivers will receive one point for every ride they complete. If the driver completes over 1,800 rides in a certain period of time they’ll be eligible for perks like free tuition on a college degree.
Uber has partnered with Arizona State University to provide free education for Uber drivers through their online program. Drivers in 8 cities (so far) will be able to cash in their points to pay for their tuition. Drivers can also transfer their tuition perks to family members if they wish.
New Start for Uber
Uber’s rebranding initiative and things like Uber Pro came after a year of one bad PR stunt after the other. The company came under fire for not background checking their drivers, leading to issues with sexual harassment and even kidnapping of passengers. The company has worked tirelessly to refocus themselves to create a positive image. Uber will even be handing out free rides to the polls [internal link] on election day, in an effort to increase voter turnout during the midterm election.
Uber has clearly been putting a lot of work into making sure that their drivers feel appreciated and their customers feel safe. The rideshare app is competing with an increasing amount of competitors as rideshare companies pop up around the world. Uber is going to have to work hard to remain on top, especially if competitors offer better pay or cheaper rates for passengers.
Julia Sachs is a staff writer at Grit Daily. She covers tech, entrepreneurship and entertainment news and is based in Park City, Utah.