How Uber is driving the welfare of driver-partners

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on December 01, 2019 Published on December 01, 2019

Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India & South Asia   -  PAUL NORONHA

Facilitates access to instant short-term loans at better than market rates

Ride hailing major Uber is now facilitating access to instant micro-loans of up to ₹25,000 for its driver partners in India, linking the terms of their loan to their status in the recently launched ‘Uber Plus’ driver loyalty programme.

This initiative is part of the ride hailing platform’s hyper-focus on welfare of its partner drivers, prompting it to roll out ‘Uber Plus’. Uber has partnered with third party SuperMoney — a digital platform — to provide the short term-loan, which are collateral free, Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told BusinessLine.

“The feedback we got from our driver-partners is they often had one-time short-term need for funds and are dependent on the informal market. They wanted to know if Uber could arrange a facility, which we have done now. We have facilitated this and linked it to our loyalty programme.”

They get loans at lower-than-market-rate. Driver partners who are part of higher tiers — loyalty programme has four tiers blue, gold, platinum and diamond — get access to larger loan amounts”, he said.

Typically, the most common loan amount comes at ₹5,000-₹10,000. “We also want to make sure this facility does not create a default and driver partners don’t take loans beyond their earning capacity”, he said.

Welfare focus

Uber had co-created ‘Uber Plus’ with driver partners, based on their feedback. “The heart of it (loyalty programme) is that we need to become a more integrated part of the drivers lives and focus on their welfare and not just earnings as one pillar. We are looking at a more holistic welfare”, Singh said.

Under the loyalty programme, drivers earn points based on the behaviour during rides and that entitles them to a set of offers depending on the status. The whole effort is to put more money in the wallet of drivers. Drivers with higher status could access lower cost servicing and maintenance, which Uber has been able to do through partnerships.

The points for rides could also win drivers free doctor-consultations, savings on vehicle maintenance, concession on education modules and faster airport pick-ups for drivers.

Prabhjeet also said that Uber wants to drive better behaviour of its driver partners as regards how they work at the marketplace. “ We have got feedback from riders that cancellations are high and that disturbs the market reliability. So we have now said that driver has to stay within the cancellation rate limit to keep access to say gold. Otherwise he will go down to blue”, he said.

Under the loyalty programme, driver partners earns more points when they drive during peak hours. This (peak hour demand) is what Uber wants to solve as a business goal. Already, all drivers in the Uber platform are covered by Uber-funded accident insurance. It had also partnered with HDFC Life and Reliance General for access to life and health insurance on rates that are “super competitive” with the market.

Published on December 01, 2019
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