Uber is no stranger to gimmicks. It’s offered rides with models. Drivers brought puppies to peoples’ houses for “play time and cupcakes”. It let passengers blast their terrible music through Uber cars’ speakers.
But the company’s latest scheme is a little more permanent: it’s launching Momentum, a quarterly print magazine for 120,000 of its “partners”; or, as you probably know them, drivers.
The magazine is shipping to US cities this week. Issue One includes quotes from people who love Uber; a Q&A with a longstanding driver; a motivational message from founder Ryan Graves; and “THE SPLENDID SIXTH STAR”, a bizarrely-named feature which honours Uber drivers who went that extra mile (sorry) for their passengers.
There will also be content helping Uber drivers navigate everyday quandaries like “finding a toilet” and “keeping fit despite driving all day”.
Here’s front cover, which is definitely not in any way creepy:
According to Business Insider, the company hopes that the magazine will allow it to “connect” with its drivers. This is presumably because Uber has very little contact with them otherwise: the company offers no in-person training, and drivers just switch on the app when they want to work. You can start working for Uber without every coming face-to-face with another employee.
Uber does, however, make contact with its drivers when it wants to sack them (or, as the company prefers to call it, “permanently deactivate” them) which it can do at incredibly short notice, as drivers are independent contractors as opposed to employees. We’re expecting further in-depth investigation on this in the next issue of Momentum.