Uber Driver App Updated For Usability

An article in Wired talks about the big change in the Uber driver app for early October 2015.  Among the exciting changes are:

  • a personalized news feed that includes notes from local Uber teams

  • information about recent rides

  • tips on how to optimize income and ratings.

  • A map icon pulls up a heat map that illustrates the areas you are most likely to pick up your next passenger—a feature that is now available whether prices are surging or not.

  • An earnings icon gives a more specific breakdown of the money drivers are bringing in, separating out their take-home pay.

  • A ratings icon allows drivers to see more information than just their average rating, including comments that riders have left.

  • an account icon allows drivers to manage their accounts from inside the app—something that used to require logging onto a computer.

I am really happy to hear about these changes since they address a number of the complaints I have heard and felt about Uber since I started learning about the driving side of it.


 

Check out our Uber Driver Store for some items we recommend for drivers

Sign up now as an Uber driver and receive a $25 to $750 bonus, depending on your city, after you start driving

 


I especially like the fact that it may help drivers find where passengers are. My Uber, Wheel-chair-accessible-vehicle (WAV) driving, blog partner has told me often how silly he thinks it is that people hang out at the airport for up to 3 hours just to get one big fare. While they are waiting they often spend time uber driver app addtelling each other how little money they are making. Hopefully, the changes in the app will encourage them to do more productive work.

The second best feature I like is that there is more feedback as to why Uber drivers are getting the good and bad ratings that passengers leave. In the past drivers just knew they were doing something bad when their ratings went down; they didn’t even know who during the day left a bad rating. They then would do all kinds of things to try and get better ratings, without really knowing what the passengers felt was wrong. This is extremely dysfunctional, like telling your spouse “I am mad at you” and then making them guess why.  Hopefully, if there is a pattern, like “smelly car” the specific issue can be addressed!


The news feed is a good idea too. Even though Uber does communicate a LOT with its drivers by email and text, people still do miss key pieces of local information. I know that the information about what to do at our airport was missed by several drivers I have met. Also specific types of drivers that have specific guidelines, like the WAV drivers here in my town, have missed announcements for big changes in the program. Hopefully the repetition of the news feed will improve communication.

The earnings information sounds promising for people who are not used to being self employed. I can’t get too excited about it though, since costs do vary a lot from car to car, and driver use to driver use.

The access to management of the account may be useful, especially when things go wrong on a ride, as often happens. The driver may better be able to communicate with Uber as to what happened and fix it, either to protect themselves or the passenger. I need to learn more through actual use.

This design also offers more hope for drivers in the future:

To accommodate growth, the app was rewritten such that the software that underpins it can break apart, allowing multiple teams to work on updates to it at the same time

Hopefully, like any good successful company, Uber will take into consideration the myriad constructive complaints that drivers have, and put them into the app.


I know  that drivers on Uber forums are already disappointed that there was no tipping function added. Uber obviously has made a business decision that no tipping will ultimately mean more fares for drivers.  I think they probably will stick with this decision, especially since they use it in their marketing to passengers.

Some have expressed concern that the new Uber Driver App update will cost them more in terms of data usage.

I am sure that there will be some bugs and missteps with this new update, but hopefully this is a start of a more driver centric Uber world.

Check out our Uber Driver Store for some items we recommend for drivers

Sign up now as an Uber driver and receive a $25 to $750 bonus, depending on your city, after you start driving

Sign up now as an Uber passenger using this link and get $15 free credit on your first ride

 

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