What happens when Uber moves offices? Some drivers don't get the memo - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 15, 2016 12:17 pm

What happens when Uber moves offices? Some drivers don’t get the memo

As shown in Philly and now D.C., communicating with a huge, sprawling workforce of independent contractors can be a challenge.

Communication is key.

(Photo courtesy of Uber)

Full disclosure: This reporter's boyfriend works at Kit Check and first alerted us to this story.

Earlier this month, Technical.ly Philly wrote a short piece on how some Uber drivers seem confused by the company’s move to new offices. It turns out, drivers will still show up at the former driver support center in the city, even though those offices are now occupied by a different company.

Huh, we thought, that sounds familiar.

Kit Check, a D.C.-based healthtech company, moved into Uber’s old offices at 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW at the end of October 2015 — Halloween weekend, to be exact. Director of technical support Nick Stocchero told Technical.ly that Uber finalized its move-out the week before.

And, well, apparently not all Uber drivers were aware of this.

“In the beginning there were a lot [of Uber drivers coming to the Kit Check offices to look for Uber],” Stocchero said. “The first week there was pretty much one every hour.” In the months since, however, the stream of confused contractors has trailed off. “We get them every once in a while,” Stocchero said with a shrug.

We reached out to Uber for comment on their policy regarding informing drivers about any change in office address.

We were told by a spokesperson that “Uber moved the Partner Support Center from 1875 Connecticut Ave to 2100 M Street at the end of August. For two additional months, there was Uber staff at 1875 Connecticut Ave directing any partners to the new location.” Additionally, a spokesperson said, the company sent texts and emails to partners and changed the company’s address on its Google business page and “in any future driver communications.”

This certainly seems like admirable due diligence.

But here’s where things get tricky.

When we initially Googled “Partner Support Center Uber DC” on Monday, the first result was to a page still displaying the 1875 Connecticut Ave. address. (It’s worth noting that by Tuesday morning this page had dropped to third place in Google’s rankings.) Granted, the website is out of date, as indicated by a bar at the top directing users to a new Uber D.C. website.

As of writing, this website is still up and easily found on Google.

As of writing, this website is still up and easily found on Google. (Screenshot)

On the new website, after a bit of digging, we found a Partner Support Center address in Forestville, Md. Confused, we circled back to Uber:

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The Partner Support Center recently moved to a temporary location in Forestville, MD as we work to find a permanent location. We’ve seen a lot of growth since our launch, and we’d like to find a place that works for our partners and meets their needs.

That’s now two moves in the past six months.

Given that Uber is an app-based company, it might make sense for corporate to communicate with the sprawling array of around 30,000 drivers in the DMV area via in-app messages. However, while this was cited as a strategy for communication in Philly, it was not mentioned by the Uber spokesperson in D.C.

Regardless, this is an interesting challenge for Uber, and one that, as Technical.ly Philly aptly noted, is unique to an on-demand workforce model. It sounds like Partner Support for Uber D.C. may still have some moves in its future. Uber drivers, keep an eye on those text messages.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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