Uber Singapore is linking drivers to ad agencies to help enhance their earnings

The Straits Times

Private-hire car drivers who are part of Uber’s driver-partner programme will now be able to earn extra income from advertising on or inside their vehicles.

Uber Singapore’s head of operations, Jonathan Wong, announced this and other changes in a Jan 29 briefing about the third and final pillar of the ride-hailing company’s “90 Days of Change” campaign.

Wong said that the latest changes to be rolled out on Jan 30 was about ehancing “earning experience” for drivers, which means improving income stability and reliability, as well as increasing the number of income streams available to them.

At the briefing, Wong told the media that Uber will now connect keen drivers, on a first-come-first-served basis, to ad agencies which will pay drivers to carry ad decals or merchandise.

A single decal can earn a driver up to $200 a month, and Uber will not take a cut from the advertising earnings, Wong said.

“We can connect them to the appropriate advertisers or agencies who will be able to pay (drivers) for (advertising).

“If you’re somebody who wants to maximise the revenue per minute per mile… this is a good option. We want to make it a seamless experience,” he said.

Shorter payment processing time

When it comes to payment, driver-partners will also be able to get their weekly earnings earlier than before.

Instead of a previous three-day processing time delay, Uber says it has improved its own processes so drivers no longer need to wait till Thursdays to get paid.

The change will allow DBS account holders to receive their earnings for the previous week on Monday itself, while account holders with other banks will see their payments come in on Tuesdays.

New low-cost insurance plan and increased fuel rebates

Another initiative being rolled out on Tuesday is a new optional insurance plan for Uber drivers that will cost just 22 cents a day.

Working with partners NTUC and Aon, Wong said that the new plan will provide drivers with coverage of medical costs and the loss of income when they are incapacitated and unable to drive.

In addition, Uber’s partnership with Esso will from tomorrow allow drivers to receive fuel rebates of three per cent, giving them up to 33 per cent savings on petrol costs.

Uber driver-partner Gazali bin Ahmed, who currently pays around $25 a month for his personal insurance plan, said he would seriously consider taking up this new option as it was cheaper than his own accident insurance plan.

“(The price) is very competitive, so I might consider just dropping the other one and getting this,” the 48-year-old former taxi driver said.

Gazali, who has been driving for Uber full-time for a year, says he took the leap to driving a private-hire car when he noticed the service gaining traction among consumers.

Read also: Uber promises 5-10% lower fares with launch of new ComfortDelGro collaboration

With Uber, he drives less and is able to take vacations because of the Lion City Rentals vacation plan, which offers up to 28 days of lower rental rates during a driver’s vacation.

Gazali said he currently pays about $539 a week for his Honda Shuttle hybrid, but the amount is usually reduced to just $440 when rebates are included.

More changes to come

Uber’s 90-day campaign to address three main types of driver concerns – flexibility, experience and earnings – kicked off in November last year.

In the first two trenches of the campaign, Uber had implemented a slew of changes including the removal of trip acceptance quotas for driver incentives, and a new $10 incentive paid by Uber to drivers who return lost and found items.

According to Wong, Uber’s increased product offerings introduced over the past year have already helped to increase the number of income streams available to drivers.

For example, services like UberPet and Car Seat come with additional charges of $2 and $5 that are credited directly to drivers’ earnings.

He added that there will be more changes introduced in the future to address the “ever-changing needs” of drivers.