Lost your phone charger? Smudged eyeliner? Hungry for a snack? A drink? Just a glass of water? Previously, some high-achieving Uber drivers opted to keep their rides stocked with small pools of free snacks or goodies to encourage passengers to leave good reviews, but Uber may take a move to make that option a feature for all its drivers.
It’s looking to do this with a newly announced partnership with startup company Cargo, which will be providing drivers with mini vending machines designed to fit easily into vehicles. Cargo has been active since 2017, and has previously operated similar to Uber, in that drivers could opt to install a Cargo vending machine style box in their vehicles and profit from any riders that chose to buy. Funds are exchanged via the Cargo website, which is accessible via the smartphone.
The digital purchasing makes the process much easier, and eliminates the machinery usually involved in vending machines. Because of this, Cargo is much less of a vending machine and much more of a box with stocks of up to ten items. The items will change based on the location of the driver, and it will be up to the driver to distribute the items to interested passengers.
“Cargo did a good job of providing more for these drivers,” said Cargo business development leader Keith Hensley in an interview with Cnet. “We think it’s a better service for both our drivers and riders.”
Cargo CEO Jeff Cripe also had something to add:
“Drivers were already doing this naturally … We’ve streamlined it. It breaks down the invisible barrier between the front seat and back seat.”
The new Cargo boxes will be rolling out over the course of the next few months, and will be arriving first in New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This is also an effort to combat the rising unhappiness of Uber drivers, who have been being forced to work longer and longer hours with steadily decreasing pay. The payment model in place with the new Cargo system gives a bit of the profits from every purchase directly to the drivers.
And the deal is a lot better than one might expect: In addition to earning a flat $1 on every transaction (Including the free items that Cargo gives to users), drivers will earn 25 percent profit from every purchase made using Cargo.
Uber’s partnership with Cargo is non-exclusive, so it’s very likely that Cargo may look to partner with Uber’s competitors as well. The partnership with Cargo does not give Uber a fraction of Cargo’s sales, but they do get ownership of a piece of the company.
This new system could be a valuable way for Uber to appease its workforce, a workforce that has been growing tired of continued pay decreases despite being required to work more and more. Uber, along with Lyft and other ride services, are in a unique position that makes it much more necessary for them to appease their employees than many other businesses since much more of the company comes down to the drivers that actually perform the service the company relies on. Their shortened management structure has allowed them to grow more quickly than many other businesses, but also means that they are affected more directly by unhappy drivers and employee complaints. This might be good for everyone however, as many Uber drivers will surely be happy with the opportunity to earn a little extra that comes with the addition of a Cargo box in their vehicles.
Featured Image Via Cargo