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Uber announces driver app upgrades ahead of earnings report

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Uber is to add a number of upgrades to its app in an effort to bring more drivers to the platform.

In the coming months, drivers in most U.S. markets will be able to see projected earnings before accepting a trip, as well as user-requested destination — two features gig workers have long requested. The company began testing the Upfront Fares feature in February.

Uber is also introducing a feature that allows drivers to choose from a list of nearby rides so they can bypass the ride they may have assigned.

Uber’s announcement comes just before the company is expected to report its second-quarter financial results. Investors will be taking a peek at Uber’s progress on Tuesday in phasing out and keeping drivers on the platform. In May, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said driver numbers were at a post-pandemic peak and it didn’t need to make “significant incremental incentive investments.”

“Our need to increase the number of drivers on the platform is nothing new, nor is it a surprise,” Khosrowshahi said later that day during a meeting with investors to discuss Q1 results. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but this is a machine that’s rolling.”

tripradar [Photo: Uber]

Ridesharing companies, including Uber and Lyft, have struggled since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Companies had to rely on expensive incentives to bring drivers back, which weighed on financial numbers. The supply of drivers appeared to stabilize earlier this year, but the Russian war on Ukraine subsequently caused significant increases in fuel prices, leading some analysts to speculate whether drivers would leave their respective platforms.

Uber said Friday it was also launching a new debit card and checking account to help drivers save on gas and fees. When drivers pay for gas with the Uber card, they get cash back at any gas station in any city. The higher the loyalty status of the drivers, the more money the person gets back.

The card will be available to all drivers in the coming months, Uber said.

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