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A look back at 2020

This year has been unlike any other. In March, everything changed. As the pandemic took hold, the world came to a screeching halt and in just a few days, we went from connecting over 16 million trips a day to urging our riders to stay home. We committed to move only what mattered most: getting first responders to work, and getting food to those who needed it. And as everyone stayed home to stay safe, we found meaningful ways to use the Uber app.

By the numbers

  • 10 Million: We have provided 10 million rides and deliveries of food to healthcare workers, seniors, and others in need, free of charge.
  • R160K: In honour of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, Uber Eats donated R160,000 towards Nissa Institute for Women’s Development
  • $50 Million: We have allocated $50 million to purchase health & safety supplies for drivers and delivery people across the world.
  • 30 Million: We have purchased about 30 million masks/face covers, and have distributed them to more than 2.5 million drivers and delivery-drivers around the world.
  • 231 Million: We have completed 231 million mask verifications across Eats and Rides since we launched the feature to keep our community safe.
  • 99.5%: To date, 99.5 percent of trips have no reported mask issues.
  • $24 Million: We provided $24 million in financial assistance for drivers and delivery people around the world who needed to stop earning on the Uber app due to COVID-19.
  • 1 million: Thanks to our partnerships with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, KFC, Afrika Tikkun, SA Harvest and Kimberly-Clark, we helped provide much-needed items to over a million people across South Africa.

Innovation in crisis

There is no doubt eaters everywhere relied on delivery more than ever this year, and helped support restaurants when the culinary community needed it most. And as part of our mission to help South Africans get more of what they needed this year, we launched Uber Essentials and Uber Connect.

We also know that people have become more price-sensitive which is why we launched UberNam, a new more affordable option with the same door-to-door safety features, and Uber Pass, a monthly plan, which unlocks savings on Uber rides, Uber Eats delivery, and grocery orders through an all-in-one bundle of benefits. Most excitingly, South Africa was the first market in Europe, Middle East and Africa to receive this unique offering. 

A few food trends

While this year’s circumstances made it difficult to spend quality time with loved ones, our customers found new ways to show love and share meals. Using the “Share my Delivery” feature, one eater even sent treats over 10,535 miles away from San Francisco to Johannesburg. 

And naturally, we noticed more than a few key food trends emerge this year:

  • Morning buzz: While many people shifted to working from home this year, they still found ways to get their morning buzz – especially in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, where we saw the most coffee orders on Uber Eats.
  • Quirky cravings: South Africans paired their coffee with unusual foods, with thousands of people ordering chips, sweet potato fries, Pap with Chakalaka, Chicken Mayonnaise Footlong, BBQ Rump Steak and Spicy Lamb Gyoza.
  • Picky eaters: As like last year, tomato remains the most requested item to be left off any meal, with more than 70,000 orders asking for its immediate removal. More than 4,000 requests were made to not include cheese, and a percentage of these were on pizza.
  • Healthy habits: Since May, we saw a 71% increase in healthy orders, while customer searches for healthier meals grew by 82% compared to the first week of the year.
  • Mind your manners: South Africa ranks in at number three globally on the app’s statistics when it comes to using “please” and “thank you” on comments and requests.

Safety focus

Since our launch, we have launched over 20 unique safety measures to ensure that every trip taken can be as stress-free as possible. This year we announced innovative partnerships with Nisaa, non-profit, non-governmental organization, opposed to all forms of oppression, exploitation and violence against women, to raise awareness of gender, power dynamics, and sexual harassment among driver-partners and riders.  We also worked with A21,  a global anti-human trafficking organisation, to provide new resources and refreshed tips to drivers and delivery people so they can learn how human trafficking works, how it may present, and how they can report or reach out for help.

While all trips have always been GPS tracked and every rider and driver have access to 24/7 in-app support, and an in-app emergency button, we also knew we had a responsibility to adapt to the new normal. We rolled out enhanced safety mechanisms including a pre-trip safety checklist, improved our feedback options to include health and safety feedback, and provided financial assistance to drivers and delivery-drivers who had been placed on quarantine by a medical professional.   

We also built innovative technology designed to verify that drivers on Uber and delivery people on Uber Eats are wearing a mask. Before starting to drive passengers or deliver food, they are asked to take a selfie showing their mouth and nose are covered. We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street. That’s why we expanded the same technology to riders, too. If a driver reports to us that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another trip with Uber. With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver.

Looking ahead

As we look ahead to 2021, we are excited to continue innovating and finding new ways to better serve our communities, riders, and driver-partners. Thank you for safely riding, driving and eating with Uber this year – we look forward to being a part of your 2021. DM


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