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Uber Implements Measures to Address Unjust Driver Deactivations

Uber is unveiling a range of new features aimed at addressing the prevalent issue of unfair deactivations faced by ride-hail and delivery drivers. Commencing this Monday nationwide in the U.S., Uber is set to introduce technology designed to identify riders or Uber Eats customers consistently providing unfavorable ratings or feedback with the intention of obtaining a refund. According to the company’s blog post, allegations from these customers will no longer impact drivers’ ratings or deactivation decisions.

To enhance transparency, Uber is expanding its in-app review center, providing drivers and couriers with more comprehensive information about the reasons behind their account deactivation. This expansion enables them to request a review of the decision and submit additional materials such as audio or video recordings.

Last year, Uber introduced an audio recording feature for drivers and riders nationwide and initiated a pilot for video recording. The company has now announced the expansion of the video recording pilot to iOS drivers in twelve U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, and select drivers in Los Angeles.

Additionally, Uber is piloting voluntary drug tests to allow drivers accused of driving under the influence of drugs or having a vehicle that smells like marijuana (in states where it’s legal) to dispute such complaints.

The move comes in response to long-standing protests by drivers against what they perceive as unjust deactivations, a significant concern in the gig economy. Many drivers have participated in class-action lawsuits, contending that some riders submit false complaints out of malice or bias. They argue that the lack of transparency in reviewing the nature of these complaints and the limited recourse offered by Uber exacerbate the problem.

Notably, drivers have reported sudden deactivation without prior warning, with no explanation provided. A report from the Asian Law Caucus in February found that 30% of deactivated drivers received no explanation for their deactivation, and of those provided with a reason, 42% attributed it to a customer complaint, while 10% cited low customer ratings.

The report also highlighted concerns of customer discrimination leading to deactivation, with drivers of color and those with limited English proficiency more likely to experience temporary or permanent deactivation. Given the gig worker classification of Uber drivers, deactivation results in a loss of income without automatic eligibility for unemployment benefits, leaving many without financial stability.

Despite the challenges in proving the validity of customer complaints, Uber is implementing measures to detect false reports or “support abuse.” The company’s model scrutinizes reports that lack coherence, exhibit exaggeration, and demonstrate an apparent desire for financial compensation. Similar language and reports that deviate from a consistent sequence of events are also flagged.

Looking ahead, Uber announced plans to expand rider identity verification in 2025, incorporating simple third-party checks and requesting identification if needed. The company is integrating Android Auto with the Uber Driver app, allowing Android users to access heat maps, accept trips, and use on-screen navigation from their car dashboard.

Finally, Uber is introducing a tool in the app to assist couriers in finding nearby parking and will add map labels specifying exact drop-off doors or include photos of buildings to enhance clarity for couriers regarding food delivery locations.

by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.


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