How Has the Pandemic Affected Uber Drivers?

Jane Lu
· 3 min read
Before the pandemic, there were already concerns about
Uber and Lyft driver safety
and wages. Things we usually take for granted, like labor standards and car insurance, were still being developed for the relatively new
rideshare industry
Issues surrounding wages have only intensified during COVID-19. Social distancing means that sharing a ride with strangers is out of the question, increasing demand for individual rides. The popularity of UberEats has further increased the demand for drivers. At the same time, the lack of benefits and inadequate pay have reduced the number of drivers willing to work. This is causing Uber to reassess how much it needs to pay its drivers in order to meet customer demand.
Uber is a weird position after the pandemic | Twenty20

Rideshare bookings increased in the spring

According to
, revenue from Uber’s food delivery service has more than tripled from last year while rideshare bookings have decreased 38%.
However, since more people are now vaccinated and the weather is getting warmer, the number of Uber bookings has started to pick up again.
So much so, that Uber struggled with the number of people booking rides in March and April. This has led to higher prices and longer wait times for customers, since there simply aren't enough Uber drivers on the road.
While demand is high, a lack of willing drivers is bad news for the company. Uber investors want to see the business recover and in order to do this, Uber needs to increase rideshare revenue in the next few months.
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What is Uber doing to help improve things for drivers?

Many Uber drivers stopped working because they couldn’t earn enough to cover fuel and living expenses. Drivers aren’t allowed to charge surge pricing because of pandemic regulations, so Uber needs to find other ways to incentivize drivers to stay.
Firstly, as reported by Reuters, Uber reduced the fees they take from each ride to around 20%. Following this, in April, Uber said it would invest $250 million to boost driver earnings and guarantee payments. Uber is hoping that these changes will be enough to keep existing drivers and also appeal to new ones.

Changes to rideshare policies in the future

MORE: How to Get Car Insurance if You’re a Lyft or Uber Driver
One problem for Uber and Lyft, is that their business model relies on flexible workers who receive low pay. The pressure of increased demand during the pandemic has ramped up existing discussions about fair wages and benefits for their drivers.
Recently, Uber had to pay $600 million and provide benefits for a settlement with 70,000 U.K. drivers. A similar step might have to be taken in the U.S.
Uber will have to consider things like classifying drivers as employees, rather than self-employed contractors, hiking wages, and providing benefits if they want to keep their drivers happy.

Finding the right insurance for rideshare drivers

If you are an Uber or Lyft driver, make sure you have adequate car insurance. Your regular policy is unlikely to cover damage to your vehicle incurred while working as a rideshare driver.
It can be confusing to find affordable prices for the coverage you need, especially when it comes to rideshare coverage.
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