10th April was a huge day for Uber drivers as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced his pioneer product launch, the revamped driver app that has been refurbished with features that drivers wanted.
Having expressed in his keynote that drivers are the centre of the Uber experience and agreed that they have been left out of the limelight as the company grew. In the past, Uber had been releasing apps for users to make their in-cab experience enjoyable.
But somewhere down the line, the drivers have been sidelined in the process of improving the system uniformly. Keeping that in mind, the CEO said that the company worked with drivers and created a beta version of a revamped driver app that has features that drivers wanted.
He also says that the app will be a huge step towards development over the current version. After months of working with drivers and a million trips after, the company has utilized all the feedback while building the app.
The revamped app features an earnings tracker with real time earnings update, a status bar with updates on potential high earning opportunities apart from ride notifications.
The product manager Yuki Yamashita, manager of product for driver experience highlights other features like surge zone displays for increased earnings, new messaging options, ETA and mileage notifications. The most important feature was the capability to stay connected to the app even in dead zone and these features got a rousing welcome from the drivers in LA.
The app has released and will be with all Uber drivers in a couple of months coupled with an app guide to get the drivers started.
More on the features
The app also features compliments from users as well as a portal that lets drivers interact with each other on topics that would help them, on topics like better service tips for users and smart trip engagement.
The app has gamified elements like quests and badges that allow drivers to accept challenges and in turn be on road for longer. Uber debates that this is for the benefit of the drivers that put more money in their pocket.
There are however, two sides to this argument – one being that it dehumanizes the experience of driving and the other one being drivers are able to show off their badges and earn extra money.
The new version of the app will highlight places on the map that have been marked out for surge pricing and start the navigation process as a way to nudge drivers into that area for earnings. The app also addresses the important aspect of driving into dead zones. The app will record the driver’s GPS location on the phone as that a trip can end even in the absence of internet connectivity.
The app also has a social media feature that shows a feed filled with relevant information on insurance, driving classes and other market-specific information that drivers can read when in between accepting trips.
The driver rating page has been redesigned to include compliments from the riders as well as congratulatory messages from Uber on completing trip milestones. Most drivers have expressed their true issues in this meeting that the support is really not needed in the technology department but the real support would be from Uber itself.
The real irony lies in the need for benefits, health insurance policies and a stop to over working and under payment issues yet there are many drivers willing to sign up for lesser pay.