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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

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.