Uber now has a record five million drivers worldwide, up 31% from last year.
The rise comes after a shortage of drivers due to the pandemic, combined with drivers leaving due to low pay and poor conditions.
“We have a very strong flow of new drivers signing up and coming in to win,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
After an Uber driver shortage due to the pandemic, the number of workers behind the wheel is increasing.
The ride-sharing app now has five million drivers worldwide, up 31 percent from last year, Uber said Tuesday. The rise comes despite record gas prices in recent months, but also as many Americans scramble for second jobs and alternative sources of income to deal with soaring inflation.
According to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the company has seen an influx of new hires in recent months, with many citing inflation as the main driver for them to join.
“We have a very strong flow of new drivers signing up and coming in to earn,” Khosrowshahi told investors on Tuesday. “Over 70% of them have said that inflation and what they’re seeing right now in terms of the cost of groceries, the cost of living, plays a role in that decision to come on the platform.”
Uber also beat Wall Street expectations, reporting quarterly revenue of $8.07 billion, beating analysts’ forecasts of $7.4 billion.
The development marks a stark contrast from 2021, when the company struggled to retain drivers and regain momentum as increased vaccination rates and relaxed social distancing policies fueled greater demand for public transport and ride-sharing.
Adding to Uber’s woes, the company saw droves of drivers quit in 2021, many citing low pay, poor working conditions and health and safety concerns linked to the pandemic. In some areas, the lack of drivers has led to average fare increases of more than 40%, as well as long wait times for riders.
On the call with investors, Khosrowshahi attributed the driver’s growth to an improved onboarding system, greater investment in the driver experience and increased employee incentives.
On Friday, the company debuted a new “Upfront Fares” feature aimed at giving drivers more control and autonomy, allowing them to see routes and estimated earnings before choosing to ride. The company has also taken steps in recent months, including raising prices for riders, in an effort to help offset high gas prices and better support drivers.
“Right now, the machine is working and we’re a very, very competitive place to win and it shows in our driver retention numbers,” Khosrowshahi said on the call.
The development also comes as Uber deals with a series of legal battles, including fighting a civil lawsuit by more than 500 women who claim they were sexually assaulted by drivers and settling with the Justice Department for $2 million earlier this month over charging fees waiting for drivers with disabilities.
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