“One of our top priorities is to rebuild the driver base,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on Wednesday’s company earnings call. “With demand currently outstripping supply, driver earnings are at historically elevated levels.”
But drivers said the coronavirus pandemic provided the first glimpse in years at what a life after Uber could look like. For many of them, it was a meaningful reset that gave them a better understanding of the toll the gigs had taken on their bodies, their mental health and their vehicles. It was the push they needed to finally begin their lives after Uber.
Some of the drivers said they realized the ride-hailing gigs were not the same jobs they signed up for in the early days of the apps. In the early days, they were incentivized with promotions and what they regarded as sustainable wages, taking more than $1,000 in pay from a full workweek. But as the apps took off, pay models changed and earnings slowly dwindled as drivers saw their weekly pay fall into the hundreds.