Uber revamps app functionality, introduces hub to keep drivers in alternative work

The Work Hub is designed to help drivers with no passengers due to COVID-19 to earn cash in other ways.

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Uber has revamped its mobile application and introduced the "Work Hub" to list alternative sources of employment for drivers. 

The ride-hailing app connects drivers with private vehicles to passengers outside of traditional taxi services. The gig economy model has proven popular enough to have expanded worldwide in recent years -- despite pushbacks from traditional, licensed drivers and regulatory concerns over suitability checks and safety -- but in the current climate, this form of work has dried up. 

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The spread of coronavirus has bought economies to a standstill. In a matter of weeks, social distancing, shielding, self-isolation, and country lockdowns have closed businesses, eradicated gig economy positions involving transport, events management, pubs, and more -- and Uber drivers are some among many feeling the financial ramifications. 

Alternative work for many has to be found. To do so, Uber's Work Hub will list driving jobs in alternative industries, including food deliveries for Uber Eats, as well as Uber Work jobs in food production, warehouses, and customer services across Chicago, Dallas and Miami. In addition, jobs related to Uber Freight will also be made available. 

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Drivers can sign up for new accounts for each service. In the case of Uber Freight, the company has promised to provide "priority eligibility screening" for drivers that hold a Class A commercial driver's license.

However, it is not just jobs in Uber's own network that will be included in the hub. The company said that work opportunities with other organizations will also be listed, including Domino's, Shipt, and CareGuide, with more added over time. 

According to Reuters, McDonald's, FedEx, UPS, Pepsico, Walgreens, and other US supermarket openings will also be included.  

The Work Hub is only currently available in the US, however, Uber is also partnering with Ocado in the UK, a supermarket -- one of many -- in dire need of delivery staff.  

Uber is not receiving a commission for any job listings or hires. 

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"The most important thing we can do right now is support drivers," said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO. "They're doing essential work to keep our communities moving as we fight this virus, but with fewer trips happening they need more ways to earn. With the Work Hub, we hope drivers can find more work opportunities, whether that's with another of Uber's businesses, or at another company."

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