Uber revises algorithms to look up drivers’ salaries, destinations before accepting trips in the US

Uber Technologies is testing a new driver earnings algorithm in 24 US cities that allows drivers to pay and see destinations before accepting trips and encourages drivers to take shorter rides in an effort to attract more drivers. Is.

Changes, which are currently in pilot programs, mark the most comprehensive updates Uber’s Drivers pay algorithms over the years come at a time when the company is still trying to win back drivers who drove away at the start of the pandemic. The rent paid by the consumers is not affected.

Drivers have long demanded the ability to see fares and destinations before accepting the trip, but Uber has resisted, saying it could open cherry-picking trips to drivers or riders in disadvantaged neighborhoods. can discriminate against.

Uber already has a similar program in California, launched in 2020 in the wake of the state’s fight over gig worker rights to prove that its drivers are independent contractors.

But the company said its latest hire in the United States was not related to pilot gig worker regulation. The trial has been launched in Texas, Florida and cities in the Midwest where gig worker reform is not on the agenda.

“Gig work is very competitive, not only with lift But other platforms, and we think this feature really enhances the competitiveness of our platform compared to others,” said Dennis Cinelli, Uber’s head of mobility in the United States and Canada.

Cinelli said while the wage change will not affect consumer prices at this point, the changes are “not a financial feature.”

Uber declined to comment on the financial impact of the changes for the company, which could mean it will incur higher costs for shorter trips.

Cinelli said the company has not seen any discrimination by drivers in California since the policy began in 2020. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have rolled it out at this time,” he said, adding that Uber had the ability to disable drivers who repeatedly denied trips based on race or low-income areas.

Cinelli said providing drivers with advance pay details means the company will have to reduce earnings for longer trips to prevent drivers from avoiding shorter rides. Uber said advance pay data for some cities showed an average increase of 22 percent in driver earnings for trips in which the distance to the pickup location is longer than the trip itself.

Drivers’ reactions to some online groups were mixed. Some complained that the new algorithm seemed arbitrary and that they were no longer allowed to calculate wages on a per-mile (per-km) basis.

“My earnings have already been destroyed by high gas prices and now Uber is charging me even more money on longer trips,” said Houston driver Kevin Hernandez.

Other drivers in online groups said that advance fare information only allowed them to select higher-paying rides, with several drivers sharing screenshots of increased earnings since the changed algorithm was launched.

The extension will depend on the drivers. “If we are not seeing it attracting and retaining drivers then we will not pursue it,” Cinelli said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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