I actually got an invite to sit down one on one with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at an event in Los Angeles today for a moderated Q&A panel with over 200 drivers in the audience. The session wasn’t recorded but stay tuned for my blog post on Friday to learn about what I asked him!
Over the past week, Uber has been peppering drivers with cryptic messages about a global announcement that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi would be making on Tuesday morning. Since it was a ‘global announcement’, I wasn’t sure exactly what would be revealed, but now we know that Uber is releasing a brand new driver app for 2018. It will take a few months to roll out the app to everyone, but Android users in Los Angeles and Atlanta will get to try it out first.
I was a little surprised that there was so much hoopla over this announcement and, while I didn’t expect a huge rate increase, or an axing of UberPOOL :), I suspect some drivers will be disappointed. As you’ll see below, the new app looks great and will make driving and absorbing lots of information while driving easier, but I haven’t heard too many complaints about the old Uber driver app relative to big pain points like low pay and upfront pricing.
I think the new driver app may have a bigger impact outside of the US, where many drivers are using older Android phones and experiencing poor reception, but I don’t see it improving a driver’s bottom line here in the US anytime soon.
To Uber’s credit, they worked with 470 drivers worldwide to beta test the new app and solicit feedback through in-person group lunches, ride-alongs and one-on-one text message exchanges. And overall, all of that driver input shows. I like the look of the new app and think it does a good job of sharing the most pertinent information but not overwhelming you like the old app sometimes would do.
Uber built some strong momentum with drivers in 2017 with the ‘180 Days of Change’ and is continuing in the right direction with a new driver app, but I think the big question drivers will be asking is, could their resources have been better spent somewhere else, like increasing rates?