Uber Tries to Make Amends by Adding Driver Support Measures

Uber is finally making a concerted effort to address driver complaints.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

After being hammered by accusations of poor driver treatment, as well as a high driver attrition rate, Uber is trying to make amends by beefing up its driver support services. Following the launch of a tipping feature last month, Uber changed more than 100 policies in an attempt to address driver concerns, according to Recode. The new policies stop drivers from being penalized for circumstances that are beyond their control, and offer more help from the Uber mothership.

One area that underwent change is fares. Previously, if a driver was forced to take a longer route due to construction or traffic, both the driver's pay and the rider's fare were reduced. Now Uber only reduces the rider's fare, while paying the driver the same amount as originally promised. Uber will also pay drivers for returning lost items to riders.

Uber also promised to protect drivers from having their ratings lowered due to circumstances beyond their control, such as being given the wrong directions by the in-app navigation. In addition, it will reform its policy of dismissing drivers after three complaints from customers. Uber will now consider factors like how long a person has been driving, their overall rating, and who is filing the complaints, according to NPR.

Support services will be revamped, too. Uber promised speedier reviews of documents when people register to drive. For the first time, the company will also have a hotline for drivers in distress. Drivers will also be able to schedule in-person appointments at support centers called Greenlight Hubs through the Uber app.

The policy revamp is part of Uber's "180 Days of Change," an effort to address the many scandals the company has faced over the past few months. An investigation into claims of sexual harassment led to the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick, and prior to that, his reputation was damaged by a video showing him berating an Uber driver. Uber has also been accused of underpaying drivers, and using software to track them.

Fairer policies and additional support for drivers won't erase those scandals overnight, but they are an important step toward making Uber a more ethical company.