Uber CEO flies into London as driver shortages hits app

Uber’s chief govt Dara Khosrowshahi flew into London for twenty-four hours earlier this week to deal with the corporate’s driver disaster, because it faces a scarcity of 20,000 drivers forward of the height Christmas season.

In his first worldwide journey for the reason that starting of the coronavirus pandemic, Khosrowshahi launched a appeal offensive at Soho Home for Uber drivers and members of the GMB commerce union.

“We’d like extra of you, so inform your folks!” he mentioned, in a speech to the drivers.

On Thursday, Uber mentioned it could increase driver pay in London by 10 per cent to attempt to tempt drivers on to its app. Final month, it mentioned it could hand out bonuses of £500 for drivers who refer mates on to its platform.

Khosrowshahi advised the Monetary Occasions it was not clear why Uber was struggling a scarcity of drivers, which has hit some customers with lengthy wait occasions or greater costs. However he mentioned the scarcity was “not only a London challenge, however a nationwide challenge” and that it was a precedence for him to resolve.

Some drivers might have give up through the pandemic, whereas others have complained that the gasoline disaster and the spike in the price of vehicles have made working for Uber more and more uneconomical.

“Petrol costs are at an all-time excessive, the prices of working are extraordinarily excessive for drivers,” mentioned James Farrar, a former Uber driver who has since arrange the drivers’ union Employee Data Change. He mentioned the issue was that Uber continues to be “providing fares at a worth that the driving force just isn’t ready to simply accept” as a way to preserve its market share towards fierce competitors.

Khosrowshahi insisted that Uber has “the identical variety of drivers as we had pre-pandemic in 2019” however that there had been a spike in demand because the UK emerged from the pandemic.

“Demand usually rises at 10-15 per cent yearly, nevertheless it’s rising way more rapidly after the pandemic,” he mentioned. Uber mentioned demand had risen 20 per cent in London, as much as 30 per cent in Birmingham and Manchester and 40 per cent in Nottingham.

Uber additionally presently has about 10,000 drivers on its books who haven’t been lively up to now few months, lots of whom might have switched to meals or bundle deliveries through the pandemic and haven’t returned to driving. Uber mentioned it might “repair half the issue on provide in a single day in concept” if they may tempt these riders to reactivate.

Khosrowshahi additionally met the London mayor Sadiq Khan for the primary time, in an encounter brokered by the GMB union.

In April, Uber introduced it could spend $250m on a one-time “stimulus” bundle to extend incentives for its drivers within the US, and mentioned final week that it has seen a 20 per cent improve in lively driver numbers since June.


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