Uber has finally come up with a solution to cure its drivers' woes. The company is rolling out new features in its app that will extend faster payments and loyalty coupons to its drivers.
The move comes as the ride-hailing app company struggles to tackle a growing antagonistic sentiment among its driver community, which has led to class-action lawsuits, protests and the unionization of its drivers.
The new program, which is being rolled out this month, will give more power to drivers and will facilitate more convenience for them. One of the changes will allow drivers to put a hold on incoming rider requests before they finish their shift. Currently, drivers are required to manually decline other trip requests until they finish their trip and drop off the customer.
The drivers will have a chance to pocket more money if a rider makes them wait over two minutes.
As part of its new initiative, the company is also extending a range of discounts to its drivers.
"We’ve launched a pilot in a few cities to give drivers discounts on Uber rides. Drivers who are part of this pilot get 15 percent off an uberX ride for every 10 trips you complete in a week or 50 percent off an UberBLACK ride for every 20 trips done in a week," the company said in a blog post. "We’re running these discounts in different U.S. cities over the next several weeks. If they improve the overall experience, we’ll make this pilot permanent. So, go ahead — be a backseat driver."
The San Francisco-based company is also enabling a new feature in its app which will allow its drivers to look up cheaper gas options as they drive around town.
For enabling faster payments, Uber has partnered with GoBank. Drivers who apply for a GoBank Uber debit card will be able to redeem payments for rides instantly, the company announced.
While the new features mark a new chapter signaling a shift in Uber's relationship with its driver community, some of its initiatives seem to be coming out of top competitor Lyft's playbook, Bloomberg pointed out. For instance, Uber's platform is now smart about pairing up riders going in the same direction for uberPOOL rides — something which Lyft already has with its Lyft Line service.