Uber drivers are happy drivers, the ride-hailing company said Thursday. "The vast majority of drivers are satisified," said Uber executive David Plouffe.
The conclusion is based on results of a company-run survey of drivers that turned up a 78% satisfaction rate.
FOR THE RECORD
Jan. 22, 8:28 a.m.: An earlier version of this article said Uber is available in 22 U.S. cities. It is in 150 U.S. cities.
Plouffe, hired by Uber in August as senior vice president of policy and strategy, is best known as President Obama's 2008 campaign manager. For the survey, Uber employed a heavy hitter who moves in the same circles as Plouffe, Princeton economics professor Alan Krueger, who served a stint on Obama's Council of Economic Advisors.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Plouffe and Krueger extolled what they see as Uber's economic benefits. The service is now available in 150 U.S. cities and "you're beginning to see a lot of mayors and officials say this is good for the economy, it's a source of job growth," Plouffe said.
As Uber expands worldwide, it is running into regulatory roadblocks. Meanwhile, groups of drivers occasionally hold public protests to complain about Uber's policies on driver compensation, its tipping policy and other issues.
The company is out to show that most Uber drivers like Uber just fine. "The Uber platform is working for the vast, vast, majority of drivers," Plouffe said.
"What jumps off the page for the survey — drivers are drawn to their flexibility," Krueger said.
The survey, conducted over the Internet with 601 drivers, showed that given a choice between working "a steady 9-to-5 job with some benefits and a set salary" or "a job where you choose your own schedule and be your own boss," 73% picked "own boss."
The company said drivers were offered financial incentives to participate, and were promised anonymity. A spokesman said the survey is "statistically valid."
Most drivers had other jobs before signing up with Uber, according to the survey, including many former taxi drivers. About 8% reported being unemployed before Uber. Plouffe said Uber offers more flexible hours than are available in "restaurants and retail." He added that for people who lose their job and are in danger of missing a car payment, "you can get quickly on the road" with Uber.
Krueger said, "In this kind of economy, we're going to see more people become entrepreneurs."
The survey also showed that Uber drivers, on average, are younger than taxi drivers, and better educated.