Uber CEO flies to London as driver shortage hits app – .

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Uber CEO flies to London as driver shortage hits app – .


Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi traveled to London for 24 hours earlier this week to tackle the company’s driver crisis, which faces a shortage of 20,000 drivers ahead of peak season of Christmas.

On his first international trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Khosrowshahi launched a charm offensive at Soho House for Uber drivers and members of the GMB union.

“We need more of you, so tell your friends!” He said, in a speech to the drivers.

On Thursday, Uber announced that it would increase the wages of drivers in London by 10% in an attempt to incentivize drivers to use its app. Last month he announced he would hand out £ 500 bonuses to drivers who refer friends to his platform.

Khosrowshahi told the Financial Times that it was not clear why Uber suffered from a driver shortage, which hit some users with long wait times or higher prices. But he said the shortage was “not just a problem in London, but a nationwide problem” and it was a priority for him to tackle.

Some drivers may have quit during the pandemic, while others complained that the fuel crisis and skyrocketing car costs have made work for Uber less and less profitable.

“Gasoline prices are at an all time high, operating costs are extremely high for drivers,” said James Farrar, a former Uber driver who has since created the drivers union Worker Info Exchange. He said the problem was that Uber “always offers fares at a price the driver is not prepared to accept” in order to maintain its market share in the face of fierce competition.

Khosrowshahi insisted that Uber had ‘the same number of drivers we had before the pandemic in 2019’, but that there had been an increase in demand as the UK emerged from the pandemic.

“Demand normally grows 10-15% each year, but it grows much faster after the pandemic,” he said. Uber said demand rose 20% in London, up to 30% in Birmingham and Manchester and 40% in Nottingham.

Uber also currently has around 10,000 drivers on its books who have not been active in the past few months, many of whom may have switched to delivering food or packages during the pandemic and have not returned to driving. Uber said it could “fix half the supply problem overnight in theory” if they could get these passengers to reactivate.

Khosrowshahi also met the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for the first time, during a meeting organized by the GMB union.

In April, Uber announced it would spend $ 250 million on a one-time “stimulus” program to increase incentives for its drivers in the United States, and said last week it had seen an increase in 20% of the number of active drivers since June.

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