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Indian Drivers Face the Heat as Uber Plans IPO

Uber filed its IPO process last month. It would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “UBER”

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Uber
Uber app. Pixabay

As Uber drivers planned a global strike on Wednesday ahead of the ride-hailing giant’s massive initial public offering (IPO), Uber drivers in India said they are facing the heat as cash incentives have considerably gone down while work hours have gone up.

Drivers in cities like Los Angeles, New York City, London and Tokyo were to join the strike and log off from the apps on Wednesday.

According to Santosh, an Uber driver in Delhi-NCR, the initial adrenaline rush is over and it has been difficult to run the family as income is low, incentives are down and stress levels are high owing to the pressure to pay monthly EMIs towards car and home loans.

“When I joined Uber, things were just going fine. Now, with low cash incentives, I have to drive for long hours to make the ends meet,” Santosh told IANS.

Dharam and Shamu, both Uber drivers, also echoed Santosh’s view.

An email sent to Uber India for a comment went unanswered.

Uber launched its services in India in 2013 with its UberBLACK service and launched its premium UberX service in 2014.

Uber currently operates in 31 cities in the country and aims to take its services to other, deeper parts of the country.

Uber, bengaluru
Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

The global ride-hailing platform in January announced the appointment of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur alumnus Pavan Vaish as the new Head of Central Operations.

Uber filed its IPO process last month. It would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “UBER”.

The company is seeking a market value just above $90 billion in its IPO, according to documents filed with regulators. The ride-hailing company has also announced one-off bonus for drivers as it prepared to go public.

As of December 31, 2018, it had 91 million, or 9.1 crore, monthly active platform users. There were 3.9 million, or 39 lakh, drivers on the platform by the end of 2018.

Also Read- TikTok Becomes Top Free App on iOS

Uber and Lyft drivers in cities, including Los Angeles, New York City and London, were set to join the strike and log off from the apps (from 7 am to 9 am ET) on Wednesday.

“Wall Street investors are telling Uber and Lyft to cut down on driver income, stop incentives and go faster to Driverless Cars,” Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, was quoted as saying by the CNET.

“With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt,” she added.

In a statement to CNET, an Uber representative said: “Drivers are at the heart of our service — we can’t succeed without them — and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road”. (IANS)

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Uber Receives 3,045 Cases of Sexual Assault in U.S. in Year 2018

"We are partnering with RAINN, the nation's largest sexual violence organisation, to design and implement this programme," Uber added

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Uber, bengaluru
Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

Ride-hailing giant Uber has released its first safety review which contains thousands of sexual assault reports. The company has also revealed the changes it was making to make rides safer for its passengers and drivers.

The two-year safety review contains almost 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault that Uber received in 2017 and 3,045 it received in 2018.

Notably, the cab aggregator categorises sexual assaults into five subcategories, which are non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, non-consenual touching of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part and non-consensual sexual penetration.

In the last sub category, which is rape, the cab hailing major received 229 reports of rape in 2017 and 235 reports of rape in 2018. Throughout 2017 and 2018, the reported incidents occurred on 0.00002% of trips, according to the company.

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society,” Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer, said in the review.

“And, most importantly, by bringing hard data to bear, we can make every trip safer for drivers and riders alike.”

Uber
Uber app. Pixabay

The ride hailing major long been under fire for its safety practices.

In its response to making rides safer for its passengers, Uber mentioned developments like its “in-app safety button”.

“We’re rolling out new features that allow riders to verify their driver with a secure PIN code, send a text message directly to 911 operators, and report safety incidents to Uber even before their trip is over,” the company said.

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In 2020, the cab aggregator will expand sexual misconduct and assault education to all the US drivers.

“We are partnering with RAINN, the nation’s largest sexual violence organisation, to design and implement this programme,” Uber added. (IANS)