Uber says a big New York Times story was wrong about drivers losing work as pickup times get better

Uber is refuting a major assertion in a recent New York Times story about how the company manages its drivers.

The story mostly focused on how Uber uses social engineering techniques to encourage drivers to stay on the road longer. But it also asserts that the more drivers there are on the road, the more time these drivers spend idling and not making money because there’s not enough demand.

In a blog post written by Uber’s director of policy research Betsy Masiello published Wednesday, Uber says these claims are false and that more drivers on the road actually results in more work for them.

Without getting too technical, Masiello says Uber has data that shows as Uber gets better at reducing wait times in a city and improving the overall experience, it attracts more riders to the service. Therefore, there are more fares for drivers in a “virtuous cycle” that benefits everyone.

“First, as the number of passengers and drivers using Uber grows, any individual driver is more likely to be close to a rider,” Masiello writes. “This means shorter pickup times and more time spent with a paying passenger in the back of the car.”

Still, the response from Uber does not refute other issues brought up in The New York Times story, including how a driver’s Uber app encourages more rides by previewing the next fare before the current one is finished. Uber’s blog post also lacks hard numbers. Instead, it shows a series of graphs comparing drivers, idle time, and ETA over time without specifics on the axis.

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