Uber has signed up 50,000 people for its UberMilitary program, and the company hopes that signing up even more drivers will cut down on alcohol-related incidents around military bases.
UberMilitary, launched in September 2014, is focused on recruiting US service members, veterans and military spouses to become drivers for Uber. They join the ranks of civilians using the ride-sharing app around the world to earn money by offering passengers a ride in their own cars.
Although 50,000 veterans and other people connected to the military have signed up, only around half have actually started driving. Uber said that's a pretty good conversion rate of people following through from signing up to actually hitting the road.
Uber is looking to expand its presence on and around military bases, which the company said could lead to a decrease in alcohol-related incidents in military communities by increasing access to reliable rides. To encourage more veterans and military folks to get behind the wheel, UberMilitary promises special perks and a savings program.
However, not all Uber drivers are impressed with the company. Disgruntled drivers have protested about decreases to the fees they earn from rides, and drivers in California filed a lawsuit over their status as contractors rather than employees. Drivers argue that this classification limits Uber's responsibility to provide benefits such as health insurance and sick days.
To mark the milestone, Uber said it is donating $1 million to organizations that support veterans and military families.
UberMilitary's advisory board of ex-military commanders includes former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen.
"Driving with Uber is an incredible opportunity," said Admiral Mullen. "It provides flexibility and allows veterans to pursue the American dream, be it furthering education, pursuing certification or starting a small business."