Ride-hailing giant Uber has expanded its driver-centric beta programme, Uber Pro, throughout the United States, starting May 1, 2019. The programme which will be available to select Uber drivers will give them benefits such as higher returns, waiving of their college tuition fees and car maintenance services.
The programme beta program was earlier available in select cities of the US, and now has been expanded to the entire country, Uber said on its website.
Launched last November, Uber Pro programme has different tiers such as Gold, Platinum and Diamond, and will give the driver as much as 6% extra return on what they normally earn on Uber. Apart from the added returns, Uber is also offering to pay for their drivers’ education, at Arizona State University. This waiver of the tuition fee can be passed on to a family member.
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Apart from this, Uber will also offer car maintenance services to the drivers enrolled in this programme, offering a discount of upto 25% on certain car maintenance and dent repair services up to twice a year.
Uber has often been criticised by their driver partners for low wages and lack of benefits. An MIT report quoted by Guardian said that drivers working for US-based ride-hailing services, Uber and Lyft, make a median profit of $8.55 per hour which is below the minimum wage. The report further says that some drivers often lose money.
In December 2018, Uber lost an appeal in the United Kingdom’s Court of Appeal against a 2016 ruling that the firm should treat its drivers and workers who are entitled to benefits like minimum wage and holiday pay. Uber argued at that time that the drivers should be treated as self-employed, just like traditional taxi-drivers are.
Earlier this month Uber made the public declaration that it will be going public later this year which will be one of the biggest IPOs in 2019. Uber is looking to raise some $10 Bn thorough public offering.