The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health measures have severely impacted the restaurant industry. With dine-in operations largely prohibited, many restaurants have turned to take-out and delivery models to continue reaching customers, maintain revenue, and stay in business.

To better understand the impact of third-party food delivery platforms on restaurants during this time, Uber Eats partnered with Technomic, an industry-leading market research firm, to conduct a survey of more than 400 restaurants based in the US and Canada in June of this year. All operators surveyed currently partner with Uber Eats, and more than 350 respondents also partner with other third-party delivery services. …


By Alison Stein, Economist at Uber

We’ve written before about the impact of switching from a system where independent contractors can use platforms like Uber to one where they have to be traditional employees. In California, our analysis has shown that such a switch would result in a 76% reduction in work opportunities for drivers, due to increased prices for riders and thus lower demand.

While our analysis might seem theoretical, we can draw real-world lessons from a strikingly similar situation unfolding nearly 6,000 miles away in Geneva, Switzerland. …


by Alison Stein, Economist at Uber

On August 10, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, proposing that the U.S. employment system be updated to require gig platform companies like Uber to pay for new benefits and grant new protections to drivers.

One of his key arguments was that today’s system forces a choice for every worker and every company: you’re either an employee with more benefits but less flexibility, or an independent contractor with more flexibility but almost no safety net. …


By Danielle Burr, Head of Federal Affairs

Perhaps no industry has been harder hit by the COVID-19 crisis and resulting economic downturn than the service sector, including our favorite restaurants in communities around the world. At Uber, we’re working around the clock to help our restaurant partners as best we can, with a number of new efforts launched in just the last couple of weeks. In addition to these new investments, today we’re calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act and provide additional much-needed relief for independent restaurants across the country.

The RESTAURANTS Act would establish a $120 billion fund for the hardest-hit independent food service and drinking establishments, a critical source of aid for the restaurant community amid these challenging times. We applaud the effort of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) to introduce the legislation and reaffirm our commitment to support and provide opportunities to struggling restaurants all over the country. …


In a recent analysis of public ridesharing and Census data in Chicago, Akshat Pandey and Aylin Caliskan at The George Washington University explore correlations between ridesharing fares and neighborhood characteristics. In addition to finding that average per-mile fares are higher for trips to and from areas with higher home prices, higher education levels, and younger residents, the authors also claim a small but measurable bias if the destination is a neighborhood with a higher proportion of nonwhite residents.

While we commend the Pandey & Caliskan study for investigating this important issue, we disagree with how some of the results have been interpreted. First and foremost, the analysis explores correlations but does not prove causality. We can guess why some of the correlations exist — for instance, higher concentrations of (and local demand from) ridesharing users may lead to higher average fares in younger, more educated, and more affluent neighborhoods, but the methods used are unable to reveal the underlying causes. …


By Alison Stein, Economist at Uber

On May 22nd, California’s state unemployment rate rose to a record 15.5%. Over 2.9 million Californians are out of work, more than during the height of the 2008–2009 recession. However, despite the current economic crisis, the State government is currently pursuing actions that we estimate threaten 158,000 additional work opportunities each quarter for Californians who earn using Uber.

We have undertaken an internal assessment of what changes Uber’s California ridesharing business would need to make if it were forced to convert drivers to employees. We estimate that rider prices would need to increase 25–111% across different parts of California to cover increased costs. …


By Uttara Sivaram, Global Privacy and Security Public Policy at Uber

Today, Uber is updating our Transparency Report on government requests for user data, which encompasses requests for the full year of 2018. Because we know that transparency is a crucial part of the trust our users place in us, we are continually looking for opportunities to make this report easier to read and understand, more insightful, and more meaningful to our community. …


By Alison Stein, Economist at Uber

Michael Reich and Ken Jacobs’ blog post combines a series of unreasonable assumptions and approaches to paint a predictably negative view of the recently submitted ballot initiative. We would like to take the time to highlight our disagreement with two key components of their analysis. In particular, we will dispute their characterization of on-app time, as well as their usage of the IRS reimbursement rate as a proxy for the cost of driving.

On-App Time

The authors are correct in pointing out that drivers and couriers spend a significant portion of their on-app time available but unengaged. It is an oversimplification, however, to characterize this time as the period “between dropping off passengers and getting their next ride”. This scenario is only one component of what is captured by this on-app time. During this time, drivers are free to reject or ignore any dispatch a company might send them, behaviors that create more on-app time. They might be located in the central business district during rush-hour, or they might be checking on market demand in a far-flung suburb late at night. They could have their app on while commuting or running errands. …


By Sabrina Ross, Head of Policy, Marketplace

We launched What Moves Us last November as a way for anyone with an interest in the technology that powers Uber’s ridesharing marketplace to learn how it all works and the principles that shape its design.

At the time, we said What Moves Us was a first step. We knew it wouldn’t answer every question about our ridesharing marketplace, in part because our technology is always changing and evolving to make our platform a more reliable source of work and mobility for our customers.

One of those changes was to surge pricing for drivers — a change that sparked questions on how it works and why we made the change to begin with. In the following I’d like to shed some light on these questions and share some data on how things are going. …


For years, drivers have consistently told us that the primary reason they choose to use Uber is because of the flexibility to work how, when, and where they want. Survey after survey has confirmed this, and academic research has also shown that drivers derive real economic benefit from that style of work.

But ridesharing has grown to be an important part of the economy and our cities’ transportation systems, and we recognize that just providing flexibility is not enough. Millions of people across the country have elected to work with Uber, and today, society has a different expectation: that independent workers not only enjoy flexibility, but also have access to a safety net and other protections — and that technology platforms like ours step up to do their part. …

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