Uber this week rolled out the first issue of a new magazine aimed at its 150,000 or so drivers.
Called Momentum, the online publication’s primary purpose is to offer its ‘partners’ (the company’s name for drivers) a riveting read between rides, while Uber executives also hope it’ll go toward building a sense of community among those who keep its service on the road.
Issue one of the 15-page magazine offers, for example, a piece about an Uber driver who’s made more than 20,000 journeys, a “healthy tips for better trips” article, suggestions on finding free and clean bathrooms (in Washington DC, driver Thomas recommends “the Sunoco gas station on 14th Street”), and a selection of Uber-related social media posts from its drivers (“The dread/hope/nausea I feel every time I am on my way to pick up an Uber passenger with the same name as any ex,” says one).
It’s likely Momentum will be seen by some as little more than a marketing tool to help the company win the hearts of its drivers. Uber’s relations with its drivers took a knock just recently when it revealed that personal information belonging to as many as 50,000 of them may have been exposed in a hack that took place last year. Affected drivers were contacted by the company when it learned of the breach, and a year’s free membership to an identity theft protection service was offered as compensation.
In another incident that may have knocked the confidence of some Uber drivers, CEO Travis Kalanick said last year he could imagine his company’s service one day switching from cars with drivers to driverless vehicles, though such a development is likely to be a long way off.
Uber executives will be hoping its new quarterly magazine helps toward building a better relationship with those who make the ride-hailing service happen, at the same projecting a positive image of the company to anyone else who happens to peruse the publication.
Commenting on the inaugural issue, Ryan Graves, Uber’s head of operations, said the magazine would strengthen the community of Uber drivers while keeping them up to date on new developments within the company.