Uber builds virtual support system for drivers in India

Uber shut its Greenlight Hubs in India when the pandemic hit, redirecting drivers seeking help from these physical support centers to the cloud instead.

When enterprises across India sent office workers home last year to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Uber followed suit. The drivers that the Californian cab aggregator’s app matches with passengers across India, though, stayed on the road.

Behind Uber’s well-known ride hailing app is a network of physical support centers for drivers that it calls Greenlight Hubs. Pre-pandemic, they were the go-to place for drivers needing help with the app, payment issues, or vehicle inspection-related documents, and also served as recruiting centers for drivers. When they, too, closed to drop-in visitors, the product team worked with the engineering and operations teams to build an alternative.

Since Uber already had an app that drivers were well acquainted with, they decided to add more features to the same app to address their problems, rather than building a new solution altogether.

Virtual Greenlight

Uber took a three-step approach to keeping drivers out of the Greenlight Hubs: delivering video and screen-sharing support, offering appointments online, and actively deflecting some issues to other channels, all in the same Uber app and visible only to driver logins. While video and screen sharing were added in collaboration with a third party, other options were built in-house.

The video support offered a quick way to help drivers when the Greenlight centers first closed.

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