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How to get Uber Eats’ London riders to go electric

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Today is one of three mobility companies that has been selected by Uber Eats to convert the transport giant’s tens of thousands of London riders from petrol mopeds to electric vehicles. 

The mobitech start-up that recently merged six mobility companies to become a new global player is offering its electric mopeds to couriers who use the food delivery app on a monthly rolling subscription. Third-party liability insurance, a home charger, maintenance, home delivery and collection is all bundled into a monthly fee.

Today joins two existing partners in helping curate what will become a new carbon neutral network for Uber Eats in the capital. 

“It is Uber Eats’ goal to be emissions free in London by 2030, and globally by 2040, and this new [Today] partnership is another step in the right direction,” said Uber UK General Manager Matthew Price. “I am really looking forward to seeing even more couriers transitioning to electric in the coming months.”

By the end of 2023 Today is aiming to have signed up 500 Uber Eats riders on its subscription package.  

“Uber has chosen three core partners to learn from, experiment with and move the dial with, to establish a model that has a certain level of finesse which can then be used in other European countries,” Today’s Partner and Head of MaaS David Bothwell told Zag Daily. “It really starts here.” 

Gig Worker Barriers to EV take-up 

Since Today joined forces with Uber, David said he has had “a lot of face time” with delivery gig riders. 

“What’s become very evident very quickly is that it’s not a one-size fits-all. You speak to these riders and they do have various concerns, anxiety points and barriers to entry into this market that need to be overcome. I see this has been and continues to be a fantastic learning opportunity.” 

A big part of David’s job so far has been myth busting.

“We’ve had barriers like, ‘I can’t afford an e-moped’ so we say, ‘that’s fine, you don’t have to own one, this is on a subscription’. Range anxiety is still very much a thing, they think they’re going to be stuck out in the cold at 3am because they’ve run out of battery. I also spend an awful lot of time educating riders to reduce their speeds as you can’t really go faster than 20mph on the majority of London roads anyway. Being smarter in using different speed modes will aid battery longevity.”

Other barriers have been more product related which Today has been able to overcome with feature updates.

“We got immediate feedback from the riders that they wanted additional in-app summary pages so they could really understand what they’re paying and when. We have also introduced the ability for riders to pay weekly, fortnightly or monthly, depending on their own personal situation. 

“Additionally, this week we’ve introduced a new feature where two riders can sign up but use one electric moped giving them the flexibility to work day and night, while both using the same piece of hardware.” 

Uber Eats
Haris, Southall. “The on-demand service and maintenance package gives me great confidence”

Cash is King’ – Today’s referral programme

Over the next few months Today will be introducing a new referral programme so that riders can refer their friends, family members and colleagues.

“They get points, and points means pounds,” said Bothwell. “We’re learning that what really matters most to these riders is cash is king. They’re here to earn money, so running incentives for more earning potential is something they are very enthusiastic about.”

Riders will get a one time referral bonus when they join Today. They can then either cash out on this or bank it.  

“If you keep the cash in there, then over the period of your subscription, you also get more points and points means pounds. So you are incentivised not to cash out.”  

For a basic Today subscription, it costs £179 a month or £45 a week, based on a 12-month commitment. Riders can also earn up to a 10% discount dependent on their length of commitment. 

The key for Today is to be both agile so its products are continually refined to match the needs of Uber Eats riders, and innovative by coming up with new solutions that will encourage more people to make the switch. 

Rider Hubs 

This week Today launched its first Rider Hub in Leyton, east London. 

Open from 11am to 10pm daily, Bothwell said the Hub serves three core purposes. 

“One, it’s much more welcoming for whenever riders want to come and inquire about our products and services. Two, the shop serves as a battery swap station, and lastly it is a much more friendly environment where they have the chance to come and test ride any of our vehicles.” 

The latter is proving particularly fruitful in boosting subscription sign ups. 

“What we’ve found is that the amount of people signing straight up on our website is lower. However, the amount of conversions we’ve had following a test ride is incredibly high.” 

Since the go live date three weeks ago Today has had double-digit riders subscribe, 80% of which have come from test rides.

Given this finding, Today now plans to open three more Rider Hubs over the six months, giving them better geographical coverage.

“When delivery riders aren’t working, you see them sitting cold in a car park or other, socialising and waiting for the work to come in. This is about creating a meeting point and sense of community for the gig-economy worker community. When it comes to Today’s subscription it’s #fortheriders – that’s absolutely where we want to be. We want to be known as the ones that go that extra mile.”

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