As of next week, Uber drivers will be limited to the number of hours that they can work in order to improve safety.
The new rules outline that a driver must take a six-hour break after 10 hours of working. Uber’s change to regulations comes after it was revealed that many of its drivers were working twelve hour days without a break, putting safety at risk.
Implementing the new rules aims to increase the safety of both passengers and drivers and to ensure that drivers are fully fit to be on the road. To stop any drivers not adhering to the rules, Uber has restricted login access to the app so that drivers cannot continue working until they have taken a sufficient break.
Over the last six months, Uber has faced a fair few fights, after being evicted from the streets of London, York and Sheffield as well as facing multiple court hearings over workers’ rights. Uber battled in court claiming its drivers were not ‘workers’ and therefore should not get rights such as minimum wage or holiday pay.
Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association for black cab drivers, told the BBC: “Uber can’t claim its drivers are self-employed and aren’t subject to minimum wage, but then try to limit the hours that they can work. This is a toothless cap that still allows Uber’s drivers to work over 100 hours a week, and is a PR stunt that will not improve passenger safety.”
Uber’s self-employment model has faced repeated criticism, but despite being overruled by a London tribunal the company is continuing to appeal the case. However, the ride-hailing company is trying to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring drivers don’t drive tired.
According to Reuters, Uber’s UK Head of Policy Andrew Byrne said: “While drivers only spend an average of 30 hours a week logged into our app, we want to do our part to ensure they don’t drive tired. That’s why we’ve been sending drivers regular reminders to take rest breaks and why we’re not bringing in these new limits.”
The ride-hailing app has been ridiculed with numerous woes, but can it ever bring back the reputation it once had and be respected again in the community? Without demonstrating the commitment to its workers and ethics it is shaping up to be a bleak future for Uber.