Uber gives Australian drivers surprise $15k bonus

"I thought it was a hoax," one driver said.
"I thought it was a hoax," one driver said. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Uber drivers in Australia received thousands of dollars in a surprise payment from the company.

The company dished out hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses last week, without any notice to drivers, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"When I saw the message on my app I thought it was a hoax. I complained to Uber and then I got a call from a lady at Uber telling me the whole story and I was very surprised," drive Lyantha Bamunuwitage said.

Bamunuwitage has been driving driven between 50 and 60 hours a week for Uber for three-and-a-half years and is one of 170 Australian drivers to receive a $14,040 (NZ$15,029) bonus.

Other drivers received smaller payments between $140 (NZ$149) and $700 (NZ$749).

It's believed the bonus is an attempt to get drivers to buy shares in Uber when it has its initial public offering on the United States market.

The company is also hoping to stop drivers switching to competitor services like Ola, or Didi, both services based in Asia that operate in Australia.

Bamunuwitage said he won't be spending his bonus on shares and will use it to pay down debt on his house.

But he's not going to be leaving Uber any time soon either.

"Obviously there's always ups and downs we have to work hard just like everyone else," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"But Uber looks after me. I'm a happy man."


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