How incentives in the gig economy put workers at risk | Philly

Uber does not specifically introduce incentives to get drivers out in bad weather, said Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for the company. But its surge pricing, where rates can balloon more than three times the baseline in the event of a situation like a snowstorm, acts as a de facto encouragement, since demand often increases in bad weather.

It’s just one of the techniques Uber uses to meet demand and keep drivers on the road, a topic researchers have been studying. “Quests” are another incentive. What may sound like something from a video game is essentially a bonus for providing a certain number of rides during a certain period of time — maybe an extra $60 if a driver completes 60 rides between Monday and Friday. Caviar, too, offers bonuses like these.

Adebukola Y., a 36-year-old Uber driver who asked that her full name not be used, said that if she tries to shut off her app before she’s reached the goal of the quest, the app asks her, “Are you sure you want to log off?” It will also remind her how many more rides it would take to fulfill the quest.

Lansana Sylla, 41, a middle school teacher, drove for Uber for about five months in the spring and summer of 2017, and recalled promises of bonus money if a driver picked up 10 passengers within a certain period from high density areas like Center City. It became a race against the clock to drop off one passenger and get back to Center City to pick up another.

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How incentives in the gig economy put workers at risk – Philly.