Uber drivers might not get health insurance or other benefits, but after the ride-hailing company filed to go public Thursday, it's paying out long-time drivers with a cash reward and an option to invest in the company.
In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Uber spells out details about a driver appreciation reward and directed share program. It's a way for drivers to get something back from the company, even though they aren't technically Uber employees.
More than 1.1 million drivers are eligible for a payout of $100, $500, $1,000, or $10,000 (totaling about $300 million). Drivers in good standing who have completed 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000 lifetime trips as an Uber driver will receive the corresponding cash reward.
Drivers can also buy Uber stock at the IPO price — a whole program is set up, with an option to use their reward money toward a stock purchase. Or not — drivers can pocket the cash and carry on.
The reward structure is noticeably more generous than Lyft's from last month. Lyft also acknowledged loyal drivers, but only gave $1,000 to drivers with more than 10,000 rides under their belt. Select drivers were also given the option to buy IPO stock. Lyft drivers were even at the opening event at the NASDAQ in Los Angeles. But drivers who didn't reach that benchmark weren't offered anything.
Uber didn't disclose any information about share price so it's hard to say how far a $100 reward will get drivers who decide to invest — but Lyft, which has a smaller driver and customer base (1.9 million drivers on the platform vs. Uber's 3.9 million) went public at $72 per share.
We'll have to wait and see what happens once Uber is officially a publicly traded company. It's expected to be valued at $100 billion. That's almost as much as the $78.2 billion drivers have earned since 2015 driving for Uber.