In an effort to attract customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber is rolling out a new feature that will let users reserve rides up to 30 days in advance and pick their favorite driver for the trip.
Referred to as Uber Reserve, the new option is designed for users who want to book a ride at least two hours in advance. The feature will begin to show up on the app later in November. In addition to the new feature, Uber will keep its current scheduling option for those trips that fall under the two-hours-in-advance timeline.
According to an Uber spokesperson, riders who use the Reserve feature will be shown their fare upfront and be matched with a driver. However, the rider has the option to select a rider from a list of their favorites. It’s important to note that drivers will not be penalized for declining a request for a ride from the Reserve feature.
In conjunction with the Reserve feature, Uber is including an additional 15-minute grace period in the event the rider is running late and an on-time guarantee that will give users $50 in Uber credits if their driver is even a minute late to a scheduled ride. The Uber Cash will come from Uber, not the driver’s earnings. The protection exists for drivers, as well. If a Reserve ride is canceled within an hour of the trip, the driver will receive the full fare rate.
The feature will launch in 20 U.S. cities and start with premium Uber Black and Black SUV rides. By the end of the year, the feature will be available to other ride options like Uber X, Comfort, and XL. The initial launch cities include Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, D.C., Fort-Myers/Naples, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Jersey, New York City, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle.
While this feature was in development before the COVID-19 pandemic, Geoff Tam-Scoot, a product manager at Uber, said the company noticed that its existing scheduling feature was being used more frequently during the pandemic. By late Spring, the company had settled on accelerating the development and release of Reserve.
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