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Photo: Uber

In its quest to help drivers make more money on the job, Uber has inked a deal with Cargo, a startup that provides ride-hailing drivers with boxes of snacks and items passengers can purchase.

The bottom line: Earnings are drivers' top priority, so it's in Uber's best interest to help them earn more. In turn, this can motivate drivers to work more hours, which benefits Uber (and it doesn't have to fund these incentives itself).

How it works: The partnership will first roll out in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  • Drivers can get a Cargo box from select local Uber centers, at no cost to them. The boxes are stocked with about 30% free items (samples from brands) and 70% paid items. Drivers make $1 per transaction, plus 25% commission, and $20 per referral to another driver.
  • Though passengers can purchase items via Cargo's app, they can also just use its store's website, or scan a QR code with their phone camera or Snapchat app. Eventually, it wouldn't be surprising to see Uber integrate Cargo into its rider app — the company can earn equity in Cargo based on factors like generating certain volumes of transactions.

What drivers are saying: "The products pretty much sell themselves since it's such a novelty and it's so visible. I've gotten a lot of good feedback from passengers about it," Harry Campbell, author of "The Rideshare Guy" blog, tells Axios. He adds that he hasn't had to push the products on his passengers — they usually notice the box on their own and ask about it.

  • Cargo already has 7,000 drivers using its service, who have earned more than $1 million since its debut a year ago. Cargo says drivers earn $100 per month on average.

Bonus confidence: Several former Uber employees and execs have invested in Cargo, a source tells Axios, underscoring its appeal to the ride-hailing business.

Go deeper

27 mins ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

2 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.