As of November 5th Dara Khosrowshahi has been at the helm of Uber for 14 months.
And he’s been busy.
Uber’s new CEO inherited a slew of issues from ex-Chief Travis Kalanick that included turning around a toxic and sexist culture, improving the company’s reputation, fixing driver partner relations, and becoming a company that is on its way to profitability.
That’s a lot to do, and Khosrowshahi has actually done a lot in a short period of time. He has managed to revamp the company’s cultural norms, ditching attitudes like “Always Be Hustlin” and “Super Pumped” in favor of things like “Customer Obsessed” and “We Do The Right Thing.”
He sold Uber’s business in South-East Asia to Grab in exchange for a stake in the firm which helps reduce losses to make the company profitable.
He even spearheaded Uber’s “180 Days of Change” initiative that was intended to help improve the overall experience of all drivers.
So yes, Dara has been busy, but how well have these initiatives worked? In particular, how much has Dara helped drivers?
To understand how drivers feel about Khosrowshahi’s performance as CEO of Uber, we went straight to the source and asked 263 drivers from around the country how well Uber was doing on the most important issues.
These issues included
- Overall driver earning power
- Support for drivers
- Driver flexibility
- Uber Pool
- Overall driver partner relations
4 Key Takeaways
Drivers are still unhappy with Uber Pool
Uber Pool has left a bad taste in the mouths of drivers since the day it was introduced, and it doesn’t appear that drivers are warming up to the service.
Just 20% of drivers approved of how Uber Pool is being handled while 49% disapprove of how Uber is handling Uber pool with 36% saying they disapprove a great deal.
Drivers aren’t happy with the earning power
Drivers are in this business to make money, plain and simple, so earnings are always on their minds. Over the years drivers have become more and more unhappy with their overall earning power, and we continue to see that trend today.
Just 38% of drivers approve of what Uber is doing to help bolster the earning power of drivers.
Drivers do appreciate the additional flexibility
Drivers are in this business to make money, but they also crave flexibility. Flexibility to work when they want, but also to work how they want. That means if I don’t want to do long fairs, don’t make me!
Drivers are actually relatively happy with the work that Uber has done to create more flexibility for them. 42% of drivers approve of what Uber is doing to help drivers be more flexible while just 33% disapprove and 25% neither approve or disapprove.
Driver support is improving
Driver support has also been something that has left a bad taste in the mouths of drivers since the service launched, however, drivers perception of Uber’s on-road support for drivers seems to be improving as a result of Khosrowshahi’s initiatives.
41% of drivers approve of what Uber has been doing to improve their on road support for drivers.
The Full Results
Before asking drivers how they felt about Uber, we first wanted to understand how experienced our recipients were.
We also wanted to understand if they had actually heard about Uber’s “180 Days of Change” initiative that was supposed to help drivers.
From here, we got into the meat of the questions
What can Uber do to improve?
We also asked drivers to give us qualitative feedback on why they felt Uber was doing well, or not so well, in certain areas and what they can do to improve.
Address the flat surge
Without a doubt, the most common request drivers have when it comes to improving earnings power is to do something about Uber’s new surge pricing which limits drivers to a flat dollar amount instead of a multiple of their ride.
Check out what drivers wrote in when talking about the new surge pricing.
You have gutted the Surge pricing.
Flat surge vs the old multiplier has lowered driver earnings.
I really don’t see any improvement. The change in surge charge hurts most drivers that were depending on it.
New surge means that drivers keep a far smaller share of the fares. Minimum flat rate surge would be fine if we still got the same 75% on medium and longer rides. Medium length trips are getting canceled since they don’t pay well.
We’re not sure why Uber has elected to release this new surge, but most drivers say that the new surge is significantly hurting their earnings. This is something that Uber and Khosrowshahi must address head-on.
Educate riders on the rules of Uber Pool Express
Put simply, Uber has not done a great job of educating riders about how Uber Pool Express should be used and has not done a great job of holding riders accountable.
While Uber has worked to improve the Uber Pool experience by adding quests, Uber Pool Express is generally a poor experience for drivers.
Check out exactly what drivers wrote in:
Express pool is a nightmare. People are angry when you don’t drop them off at their destinations. So often I’m sitting at a very busy corner that I shouldn’t be at waiting for somebody to walk a block or two when they should already be there. HATE Express. Completely HATE it.
I DO NOT like Uber express. I have more riders telling me to drop them off at their house. That’s not the point of express pool.
Xpress Pool has been a headache since it rolled out in my market. It was left to the driver to market it to riders (best way to guarantee an inconsistent message). Uber has to do more with educating rider on its various ride options.
For drivers, the pickup and drop off locations are unsafe to stop at. Riders are rarely at the pickup point when I arrive then I get a call from them saying hey you need to come down the street and pick me up. This situation is a no win for the driver. If I push back by explaining how express pool works and I can wait and the rider comes, I get a 1-star rating and the rider calls uber to complain saying I was unprofessional because I did what the rider chose and paid for.
Also, Xpress Pool during bad weather and late nights should not be an available option. People are not going to walk to meet the uber in the rain, nor will an intoxicated person who only knows they’ve requested an uber not realizing they’ve agreed to walk to meet their uber.
Uber needs to think seriously about how they can better educate and riders and start holding them accountable for their own choice to ride an Uber Pool Express.
Continue to improve phone support
Adding phone support was a huge win for Uber. There’s no question about that.
However, it still isn’t perfect and often takes too long to reach someone.
See exactly what drivers said about Uber’s phone support below.
They now have a phone number you can call but I hear it’s overseas and can barely understand them but don’t know for myself never called
Phone support is too script reliant and not helpful at times due to not understanding issues, such as long surge corrections, or have had the tools to correct these problems available.
Wait times can be a bit excessive at times but I do receive good service when I finally get to someone. Also, what can be done with false negative claims passengers make about us drivers that cause our accounts to be put on hold for no good reason? I really think there needs to be repercussions for passengers who rate poorly or complain about a driver just to get a free ride.
They answer fairly quick and they always eventually figure it out!
Do you approve of Dara?
This is what Uber drivers that we surveyed have to say about Dara’s first year, but how do you feel? Let us know in the comments below!