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Uber launches program to reward high-performing drivers

Driving for Uber isn’t always the most rewarding experience. Strangers puke in your car. Riders tip poorly.

You might not break even if you’re leasing a car. A recent driver survey from ride-sharing guide Ridester showed the average hourly wage is not even $15.

So Uber has devised a reward program called Uber Pro to motivate and recognize hard-working and committed drivers — and it’s not just about cramming the most rides into a day. Uber wants to reward drivers who offer a high-quality experience and are dedicated to their driving duties.

On Thursday, Uber Pro debuted its pilot program in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix, Denver, and New Jersey. Based on how it goes, Uber hopes to expand across the country and eventually internationally.

Drivers unlock rewards if they have at least a 4.85-star rating and a low cancellation rate under 4 percent. Every three months, drivers earn points per trip. The points earned during that period unlock status levels and rewards for the next three months.

Uber_Pro
How the Uber Pro works

There are four status levels: partner, gold, platinum, and diamond. The higher the status, the better the rewards. But all are focused on improving driver earnings, maximizing drivers’ time, and helping with driver goals on and off the road.

This isn’t supposed to play into the so-called “gamification” of ride-share driving, but with levels given labels like “diamond” and “platinum,” it veers into that territory. Some of the rewards are extra earnings for time and distance driven, cash back at gas stations, 25 percent off car maintenance, and for diamond status, free dent repair. Other rewards include recognition that you’re a Pro driver in the app, priority support, faster airport pickups, and 24/7 roadside assistance.

The other part of Uber’s driver recognition program is free tuition at Arizona State University Online for platinum and diamond drivers. The company sees this as a big perk for its most committed drivers, many who tell Uber they want to eventually open their own business, finish their higher education, or work on their English language skills. The free tuition credit can be transferred to a spouse, domestic partner, child, sibling, parent, legal guardian or dependent.

“These are the drivers who have invested so much in Uber,” Ali Wiezbowski, Uber driver product lead, said in a phone call this week.

In an op-ed for the Arizona Republic Thursday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and ASU president Michael Crow wrote about the free tuition.

“We hope to provide a model of how business and academia can leverage knowledge, technology, and scale to help more people gain the skills they need to advance in their lives, serve their families and communities, and contribute to the betterment of society,” they wrote.

To kick off the pilot, drivers who are qualified for Pro based on ratings and ride history from the past three months will be brought into the rewards program.

Credit: Mashable.com

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Henry Cobblah

Henry Cobblah is a Tech Developer, Entrepreneur, and a Journalist. With over 15 Years of experience in the digital media industry, he writes for over 7 media agencies and shows up for TV and Radio discussions on Technology, Sports and Startup Discussions.

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