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Uber boosts driver payouts for carpool service in latest reform initiative

Uber app
(Shutterstock Photo)

Uber is changing how drivers are paid under its UberPool carpooling service, another indication of the ride-hailing giant’s efforts to provide better working conditions for drivers.

Previously, drivers doing UberPool rides, where multiple riders heading in the same direction split the cost of a trip, didn’t see any additional cash despite having to do extra pickups and dropoffs. The changes add an extra flat fare every time an additional pickup stop is added to the trip.

The effort is part of a larger intiative at Uber to make the experience better for drivers called 180 Days of Change. The most notable change so far to come out of this plan was the move to allow tipping within the Uber app.

Uber is about halfway through its 180-day initiative and describes each set of changes as “chapters.” This latest chapter focuses primarily on UberPool.

Because the carpooling service is only available in the 13 largest U.S. markets, including Seattle, not everyone is familiar with it. Uber is making a push to educate riders about UberPool, taking the heat off drivers to explain the service to new riders.

Uber is also simplifying pickup and dropoff. In the coming weeks, the app will begin detecting restricted zones setting pickups and dropoffs at safer areas to stop. The app will also suggest to riders corner locations along routes so that drivers don’t have to loop around the block to pick them up.

The last few months have been a tumultuous time for Uber, the world’s most valuable startup, beginning in February after a blog post from former engineer Susan Fowler describing harassment and sexual discrimination at the company. That led to an investigation into Uber’s culture by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and departure of Uber co-founder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick in June.

Kalanick was replaced by former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. We have already seen an example of how Uber may act going forward, as the CEO wrote an open letter apologizing for the company’s past conduct in London, where the city’s transportation authority said Friday it won’t renew Uber’s license to operate because the service is not “fit and proper.”

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