While it feels like this year has given us fewer and fewer reasons to leave home, our Uber statistics seem to indicate otherwise. 2020 marks six years for the service in Hong Kong, and Uber is marking the occasion with some numbers that reveal the way we've turned to the app in a highly unusual year.
According to a release, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber has reported a 30% increase in the average number of times users chose the app for their trips. Holidays and special occasions saw a 2020 boost as well; compared to last year, there was a 31% increase on Father’s Day, a 14% increase on Dragon Boat Festival, and a 13% increase on Mother’s Day.
With so many riders in the midst of our current global crisis, Uber is keen to remind that this increase came with an emphasis on safety, as well. "Facemask verification" was an added safety measure this year, ensuring that drivers and passengers were properly masked for trips, and complemented some of the app's earlier features including contactless payment and contact tracing. Earlier this year, Uber also implemented features including "no contact" options for delivery in addition to offering a number of relief measures for their delivery and restaurant partners.
A number of new drivers this year have turned to Uber as well. The service has seen a 78% increase in taxi driver-partner sign-up since January, and according to a survey of nearly 3,000 driver-partners, Uber reports that the most common reason drivers signed up this year - 28% of respondents - was to make up for lost income due to COVID-19. In many cases, they were self-employed contractors and had seen their other sources of income greatly impacted by the pandemic.
"We’ve crossed significant milestones in the past six years and have deeply integrated our products to match the pulse of Hong Kong," said Estyn Chung, general manager of Uber Hong Kong, in a statement. "Especially during the pandemic, we take pride in providing an extra source of income for over 14,000 active Uber driver-partners, as well as tailored products to serve over a quarter of Hongkongers who use Uber."