Uber has just released a new service for its dedicated drivers. There are many different types of people that drive for uber, and these include entrepreneurs seeking ways to build a fleet business, parents seeking ways to supplement their income, immigrants wanting immediate work, students seeking ways to pay for their education and living costs, even employees that just want an extra bit of income on the side.
Whatever the reason, Uber provides a source of income for them, and in appreciation for the many years of suffering, Uber now opens up a new service aimed at improving the Uber drivers life.
OK, enough of the Uber rated promo let’s look at this new service properly.
I will start by reviewing the Uber news site that mentions this new service.
The official Uber news site basically states that its here for the Uber driver that is dedicated to their work. They intend to offer a number of incentives that includes 25% off standard car maintenance at 20,000 shops nationwide, also a 5% cash back at any gas station when using the Uber Visa Debit Card. These are just a few of the features drivers get access to; there are many more. In fact, the added benefits step into the drivers home and offer drivers and their families the chance to complete a tuition-free Arizona State University (ASU) courses aimed to accumulate points to finish an undergraduate degree or a non-degree certificate through ASU Online.
OK, so its full of fun stuff and it’s attractive, but what’s the catch?
The first catch is a 4.85-star rating with a low cancellation rate. This means, if you are not in this setting, you are not eligible. So we have now cut down the number of drivers to a small percentage. We all know how hard it is to get a 4.85-star rating, and low cancellation rates are easy to reach, but at what cost?
Let’s take the easy route and consider an eligible driver.
You get to accumulate your points for fixed 3-month periods. These accumulated points add up to the next period, and so on and so forth, unlocking treats along the way. Sounds like playing an online game like Candy Crush.
Just like an online game, there are levels too, these are called the four categories, and they are partner, gold, platinum, and diamond.
The only way to climb the levels is to continuously feed the beast, and constantly meet the basic requirements, and continuously accumulate points.
No Free Rides to Gifts
Well, to be honest, if you are getting free tuition or cheaper gas, or free dent repairs, you should pay something for it, and paying Uber in service, while getting paid for rides and accumulating points, is ok.
Uber Pro is currently being tested in 8 locations. Uber Pro will be fully live in Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago and Phoenix to start. Denver, Orlando, and Tampa, and the state of New Jersey will start at a 50% coverage of drivers.
So far so good, let’s dive a little deeper and get to comprehend the gains versus the pains fully.
Uber recognizes the driver
Slowly but surely Uber realizes that while it holds the keys to clients, the driver holds the keys to Uber. Without the driver, there is no Uber, and so, Uber will recognize the driver as a person and not a contract.
Earning More to Get More
It’s all about the incentives. Additional benefits have been a constant incentive in the manufacturing and retail industry sectors. Well, now Uber is adding this to the transport sector, where the incentive is not an added income from boosts or prime time, its actual cash value benefits accumulating with more income. In other words, the more income you make, which is the more rides you take, the more points you accumulate for your added benefits.
The Driver as a Business and a Family
Rather than look at the driver as a contract, Uber looks at the driver as a family, an individual that needs to support more than self, and also looks at the driver as someone that wants to progress in life. Entrepreneurs want to find ways to leverage fleets for improved income, student drivers want to finish their education, and parents want to supplement incomes as well as improve the education of their family members when possible.
So apart from the obvious gas and garage benefits, Uber is giving home and business benefits too. They are reaching out to the core of the driver, the soul in the family.
The Four Categories Understood
The four categories are:
- Partner (The Starting Level)
- Diamond (The Highest Level)
In this table, you see how the categories are classified in terms of their rewards
So how do you advance from the most basic level to the top level?
To fully understand the exact requirements of the program, its best not to rely on here say or interpretation, go to the legal page of the program: Legal | Uber
Here are the basics of the legal page, which is binding.
The Relevant parts are:
HOW YOUR TIER IS DETERMINED
Uber states clearly the following points:
“You must earn points ("Points") to access the different Tiers (defined below) and the rewards offered in each Tier. “
Translation: straightforward, points are defined by a process, which is:
“You will earn 1 Point for every trip you complete as an Uber driver partner in the following views: UberX, UberPOOL, Express Pool, UberXL, UberSelect, UberWAV, UberBlack, UberSUV, in the United States. Each such trip, together with any Uber Eats trip, shall count as an "Uber Trip" for the purposes of this Program. “
Translation: You only earn 1 point for all your trips, including UberEats.
“You will earn an additional 2 Points (for a total of 3 Points) when you either a) pick-up a rider and commence a trip or b) complete a trip (or delivery) during the following times (displayed in the local time zone) ("3 Point Hours"):
- Monday - Friday: 7 AM - 10 AM 5 PM - 7 PM 9 PM - 1 AM (the next day, including Saturday until 1 AM)
- Friday - Saturday: 12 PM - 5 AM (the next day, including Saturday & Sunday until 5 AM; note overlap w/Friday periods above)
- Sunday: 12 PM - 1AM (the next day, including Monday until 1 AM) ”
Translation: The additional points only get added during specific time schedules. If you drive in any other time frame, you only get 1 point. So, get ready to drive in late night early morning hours only, because that’s when you get the additional points.
“You earn Points in fixed three-month periods. The fixed three-month periods (each a "Program Period") are currently set as follows:
- Program Period 1: November 1, 2018 - January 31, 2019
- Program Period 2: February 1, 2019 - April 30, 2019
- Program Period 3: May 1, 2019 - July 31, 2019
- Program Period 4: August 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019”
Translation: The whole program is time-limited, and you accumulate the points within that time frame. The program will close in on October 31, 2019, although the site does taste that they might continue it at their own discretion.
You might think, hey, its great; I can earn and earn, well no! The periods should have given you some clue to the intentions of Uber. As the site continues to state:
“Points expire and reset to zero at the end of every Program Period. They do not carry over to the next Program Period. “
Translation: Ding-Dong, wake up call, whatever you accumulated in the period has to be spent in the period, and your level is set based on your period’s performance, in other words, your reward level is set at the beginning of each period based on the performance of the previous period.
Now check this out:
“Points have no cash value and are used solely to determine your Program Tier.”
Translation; if you don’t use the rewards in your tier, you cannot use the points to get “refund” or “cash equivalent.” Got it!
Now let’s take a look at the next issue on the legal page:
PROGRAM TIERS AND WINDOWS
“The Points you earn in one Program Period will determine your Tier in the next Program Period. Tiers are not permanent and must be earned for every Program Period. …. YOU MUST ALSO HAVE AT (1) LEAST A 4.85 DRIVER STAR RATING AND (2) NO GREATER THAN 4% CANCELLATION RATE IN ORDER TO REACH THE NEXT TIER.”
Translation; quite basic as explained above, you need to have a 4.85-star rating and a maximum 4% cancellation rate, and your tier is based on your previous period’s performance.
Partner: Everyone starts out as a partner, so this is the starting point of the program, from here you get to rise by way of points as such:
“Gold Seattle, Chicago: 600 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period) New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, the entire state of New Jersey, Orlando, Tampa: 300 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period)
Platinum Seattle, Chicago: 1,200 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period) New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, the entire state of New Jersey, Orlando, Tampa: 600 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period)
Diamond Seattle, Chicago: 1,800 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period) New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, the entire state of New Jersey, Orlando, Tampa: 1,200 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period)”
Translation: You need to earn points every period, if you earn 600 you will become Gold if you earn 1,200 you can reach Platinum. And if you earn 1, 800 you get to become Diamond. So far so good, but remember, these points reset at the start of every period. What doesn’t reset is your tire, which means, if you become Gold during your first period, and earn up to 1,190 points at the end of the period, you lose those accumulated points. You remain Gold and start the second period as Gold and have to rebuild your points to get to Platinum.
There is a slight reduction in the maintenance of your star ratings; you need to retain your 4.75-star status and maximum 8% cancellation rate to keep within the program. This is supported by the legal sites page:
MAINTAINING YOUR TIER - Quality Standards
“In order to maintain your Gold, Platinum or Diamond Tier status during the entire applicable Program Period, you must maintain, at all times (1) a minimum Star Rating of 4.75 and (2) a maximum cancellation rate of 8% (collectively, the "Quality Standards").”
Take heed that if you do get kicked out of the program, you will need to rebuild your status to the original 4.85-star rating and 4% cancellation rate to re-enter.
This is the kind of incentive program you would expect from someone that came from the travel industry, it’s got Dara written all over it.
To be honest, this is a great concept with great rules and is aimed at providing an incentive for drivers to work 24/7 with 12-hour sleeping breaks, so be prepared to work 36/7.
The interesting question for Fleet drivers is who gets the benefits, the driver or the fleet owner? Or is there some kind of personal deal between the two.
No matter what, the Uber Pro is on the go, and it is an exceptional new incentive program with the driver placed in the crosshair of the deal.