Uber has been facing a lot of criticism, particularly since it lost its licence to operate within London. Now, though, one of those criticisms is being dealt with, because the app will stop UK drivers from working excessive hours.
One of the main concerns people have with the way Uber operates is passenger safety, particularly since some drivers have been known to work more hours than they should - presumably in an attempt to earn enough money to, you know, live. When asked about this Andrew Byrne, Uber UK's head of public policy, revealed that the company is working on a feature that will automatically log off drivers who seem to be working excessive hours.
At the moment Uber already tracks how much UK drivers are working, and directly calls them to remind them about safe driving practices if it seems they're working too much. This new feature, however, will limit drivers to working between 10 and 12 hours over a 24 hour period, booting them off the app if they attempt to work for longer. It's similar to a system that launched in New York last year, which limits the city's Uber drivers to a 12-hour day.
Of course this doesn't stop drivers from working for a different company during the downtime, and it'll be interesting to see if there are measures in place to prevent them from logging into Uber with a different account. It's not impossible for Uber to leave a digital trace preventing this (it's happened before), though that's a pretty sketchy way of doing things.
Driver safety was one of the concerns TfL had when it denied Uber the right to renew its operating licence, and while it's obvious this particular feature is not that recent a development it wouldn't be surprising if Uber used it as a concession in the negotiations that are supposedly taking place.
This news also comes as the government is looking into the so-called gig economy, trying to work out ways of regulating the industry and ensuring workers have the appropriate rights - but without affecting the flexibility such jobs can offer. [The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee via Engadget]