Taxi firms are going all out to bring down driver attrition. While Ola recently launched a contest, Uber expanded its sixth-star rating programme to India. While a rider can rate a driver from one to five stars, the company would select two drivers based on what the company calls ‘exceptional service’. “Two winners will be selected every week — one based on rider nomination and the other for combined highest rating and highest number of trips,” the company said in a statement. Winners get a $1,000 American Express gift card and recognition. Every week drivers would be selected from one of the regions including Western North America, Central North America, Eastern North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. Uber’s rival Ola had earlier this week launched a contest where its drivers could win prizes on the basis of the number of bookings they completed and customer feedback. Prizes ranged from 2BHK apartments to gala entertainment evenings with family. Marketing experts say launching such programmes are old-school tactics, similar to employee-of-the-week awards.
Analysts say cab firms have cut down on incentives they provided to the drivers earlier in order to look towards profitability. “After making a change to their incentive model, the companies are now looking at new strategies to maintain driver loyalty. They can’t lose out on drivers. So if one company does it, the other has to do. It is a cascading effect,” said Jaspal Singh, co-founder of Valoriser Consultants, which provides market research services for transportation companies. According to estimates, Uber was losing at least Rs 500 per ride on an average and Ola about Rs 420 per ride, including the incentives to passengers. To ensure enough supply of cars to meet the demand created through this referral scheme, Uber was also providing drivers with per-trip bonuses. Uber is also offering a temporary incentive scheme, of Rs 100-275 per trip to car owners, irrespective of trip fare.