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A flood of new drivers are joining Uber because everything is more expensive

“The most obvious effect of inflation seems to be getting more drivers on the platform,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.
Washington, D.C., scenics
An Uber driver in Washington, D.C.Robert Alexander / Getty Images file

As inflation rates hit 40-year highs, a surge of new drivers are joining Uber's platform in the hopes of earning extra cash.

In the company's earnings call Tuesday morning, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi estimated that more than 70% of drivers said inflation had played a part in their decisions to join the ride-hailing service.

"To some extent, we could be seeing evidence where it’s helping us in that it’s a very significant consideration base for drivers coming on to the system," Khosrowshahi said of inflation.

Khosrowshahi estimated that drivers can earn as much as $37 for every hour they're on the platform, while drivers who drive for both Uber and UberEats earn $30.

Uber announced new features last week aimed at improving drivers' experiences. Drivers will now be able to see how much they'll earn and where they'll be going before they accept trips. And they can view more than one trip request at a time.

Uber said the changes would also help lower wait times for riders.

More drivers are key to the platform's success, especially in light of a steep drop-off in chauffeurs amid the pandemic. The decline led to reports of longer wait times and higher prices.

But Khosrowshahi said Tuesday that Uber now has more drivers and couriers earning money than before the pandemic. New driver sign-ups were up by 76% year over year. 

“The most obvious effect of inflation seems to be getting more drivers on the platform,” Khosrowshahi told CNBC.