Once the most satisfactory system turned out to be oe of the least among its category. Former Uber India executives say incentives were sharply cut in early 2017 because of growing pressure from the US head office to improve financial performance ahead of an initial public offering (IPO), which values it at as much as $90 billion. Uber is set to debut on Friday on Wall Street.
In interviews in the metropolises of Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru, more than 35 drivers said discontent against Uber was growing.
Mounting debt from taxi loans was a key concern. Many drivers took loans to buy cabs, while some leased cars from the companies themselves.
To be sure, many drivers from Uber are still earning more than they could get in other blue-collar jobs in India. The national minimum wage in India is only about $2.50 (roughly Rs. 170) a day.
“It’s not that we are making a fortune, but it does give us a livelihood,” said Prakash KC, who earns around Rs. 38,000 ($548) a month driving an Uber in Bengaluru city.
Uber has acknowledged the risk of unhappiness among its drivers. “As we aim to reduce driver incentives to improve our financial performance, we expect driver dissatisfaction will generally increase,” it said in its IPO filing.