Uber has now introduced a feature in their application that allows users to schedule Uber in advance at no extra cost.
The update followed just weeks after Lyft made the same app upgrade earlier this year, and was first launched in Seattle before slowly being expanded to other cities.
Essentially, the feature lets riders schedule a pickup thirty minutes to thirty days in advance. It won’t allow users to request the car until the scheduled time, which still makes it technically on-demand.
It also means that the designated driver can reject reservations up to a few minutes before pickup time. Luckily when this happens, Uber will automatically request the next available driver to pick you up. This provides additional flexibility to drivers, while still providing the advantages of the scheduled service for riders.
Riders are also allowed to update their location information and even cancel a ride altogether any time, as long as it is at least thirty minutes prior to pickup time.
You will receive a first reminder twenty-four hours in advance then a second one exactly thirty minutes before pickup.
Surge Pricing Apropos Ride Scheduling
Unfortunately for riders (and fortunately for drivers), scheduled rides are still subject to price surging. Uber will provide a fare estimate at the time a ride is scheduled and will keep updating the price if it changes. You receive surge notifications as they happen, preventing nasty surprises.
But does that mean riders have to accept the new price if changes happen after the driver has been dispatched?
According to Wired magazine, Uber will give riders a five minute allowance to either accept the new price or cancel the ride without penalty. So, that means you must keep an eye on your phone for the thirty minutes prior to pickup. This will make sure you are aware of any price increases.
Uber vs. Lyft
While users should not consider Uber’s new feature a complete replica of Lyft’s idea, there’s no denying that the two have quite a lot in common.
To name a few, both come at no extra charge but are not immune to price surging, and the rider and the driver, in both, can rightfully cancel/reject rides anywhere outside thirty minutes prior to pickup.
Perhaps the only difference between these two is that Lyft can schedule rides only as early as twenty-four hours in advance. Uber’s thirty day period makes it a more convenient option for impending business trips.
When is the feature available in my city?
Uber debuted the new function in Seattle in the summer of 2016. They accompanied its launch with promises to expand the service to “top business travel cities” across the US in the foreseeable future.
Currently, according to Uber’s official site the service is available in the following cities:
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, Manila, Melbourne, Miami, Milwaukee, NashvilleNew Jersey, New Orleans, New York City, Orange County, Orlando, Perth, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis, Sydney, Tampa Bay, Tucson, Washington D.C.
What the Uber ride-scheduling feature means to riders
Uber’s scheduling innovation was quite a sought-after function among their riders, according to Russell Dicker, one of the company’s product leaders. He details how it will benefit their customers once it goes mainstream and made available everywhere.
He wrote in a blog post, “we have heard from our clients that sometimes they would like to schedule a pickup in advance so they can rest assured they will have a driver available when they need one, even if it is for a 4 a.m. drive to the airport.”
According to Dicker, the main beneficiaries of this feature will be Business profile account owners and Uber for Business customers. Of course, these are the individuals you would expect to have numerous trips, some scheduled for up to weeks or even months in advance.
What’s more, ride scheduling has been a core feature of the limo and black car services for a long time. These conventional means of transport for business and corporate travelers make use of scheduling to deliver a useful service for their high volume users. This is something Uber has noticed and is emulating.
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