Uber, Aapti Institute announces 2nd edition of Driver Advisory Council

Uber and Aapti Institute have announced the second cohort of driver partners for the Council, who will represent six major Indian metros for a year.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 13 Apr 2023 Views icon4358 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Uber, Aapti Institute announces 2nd edition of Driver Advisory Council

India’s first Driver Advisory Council (DAC) has successfully completed its first year of operations. The Council was established to provide gig workers a safe space to discuss issues that impact them deeply and improve their platform experience. Led by Aapti Institute, a Bengaluru-based think tank that serves as a third-party Independent Review Board (IRB), in collaboration with Uber, the DAC aims to create a better two-way dialogue between driver-partners and the platform.

Uber, in partnership with Aapti Institute, has announced the second cohort of driver-partners who will be part of the Council for a year. These drivers come from six major metros, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai. They represent the interests of tens of thousands of driver partners using the Uber platform.

The Council meetings are a critical forum for discussions that cover a wide range of topics, including earnings, product enhancements, social security, app experience, and safety. Over the past year, the Council comprised 58 driver partners who were part of three in-person sessions and two online sessions, convened by Aapti between March 2022 and March 2023.

Based on the recommendations from Aapti Institute and the Council meetings, Uber implemented several changes last year. According to an internal survey of 80,000 driver partners by Uber, 85 percent of the respondents believed that the changes had a positive impact on their driving experience, and 92 percent drivers wanted DAC to continue.

Aapti Institute unveiled an impact report on the learnings from the Council meetings in its inaugural year. The report highlights key changes introduced by Uber as per the IRB’s recommendations. These include:

Reduction in driver cancellations: The Council meetings helped better understand the issues faced by driver partners that led them to cancel rides. Subsequently, Uber made the drop-off destination and mode of payment known upfront to driver partners prior to their acceptance of the trip requests.

These changes helped driver partners make an informed decision and reduced trip cancellations significantly.

Transparency in driver earnings: The Council meetings helped get an insight into reasons behind some driver partners demanding extra money or refusing online payments. Fuel prices had gone up and driver partners' earnings were impacted. Online payments were transferred to the driver partners’ accounts after almost a week.

To address these issues, Uber increased fares by 12-15 percent in major cities to offset the fuel price increases. Uber also introduced a Daily Pay process which meant that driver partners received payments made online the following day from Monday to Thursday and on Monday for payments made from Friday to Sunday. 

Easier app-experience for driver partners: Driver partners also highlighted bugs or missing features on the Uber app such as the lack of a convenient login interface.

Uber now provides a phone button on the homepage added to the driver-partner’s Uber app to call for support and displays the customer’s chosen payment method for a trip.

Commenting on the occasion, Shiva Shailendran, Director, Operations, Uber India and South Asia, said, “The Driver Advisory Council was our sincere attempt to give gig workers a much deserved seat at the table. Over the last one year, we have deepened our engagement with driver partners and now have a better understanding of issues they face. We will continue strengthening the Council further and stay committed to providing an open, accessible, and rewarding platform for driver partners to make sustainable earnings. This is an ongoing process and the changes that happen may be big or small, but will impact driver partners positively.”

“The Driver Advisory Council (DAC) represents a unique, first-of-its kind effort in India’s platform gig economy that promotes participatory governance. Gig workers’ participation in an independent third-party mediated forum introduces a robust and resilient  alternative framework for the governance of platform work. Such an approach can unlock agency for the driver community by giving a seat at the table, for companies by involving gig workers,  and for society at large. Participative dialogue can help generate insight on issues faced by drivers, to enable potential positive changes to regulations, as well as Uber’s policies and products,"  Sarayu Natarajan, Founder, Aapti Institute further added. 

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