Uber is now letting riders book a trip in advance with a new feature called Uber Reserve. The ride-hailing company says the idea is to make it as easy as possible for people to manage their schedules. Uber Reserve is different fromin that it now has a dedicated place on the app’s home screen and lets people book up to 30 days in advance.
Uber had already been working on Reserve when the novel coronavirus pandemic struck in March. But the company said it sped up development of the feature since then because it saw an uptick of scheduled trips.
“Uber’s customers tell us that planning ahead lets them know what to expect,” Geoff Tam-Scott, Uber’s product lead for rides, said in an interview. “Time is really at a premium now.”
The pandemic has taken a hit on Uber’s rides business and the company has been working to create more revenue streams. During its third quarter earnings last week, Uber reported an 18% drop in revenue over last year. Its delivery business, however, has seen a surge in use. Uber Reserve could be another play by the company to offer something different to passengers.
The reservation service lets riders book their trip and see their fare instantly. It’ll also match passengers with a driver up to seven days in advance. If riders like a certain driver, they can select them as a favorite for upcoming rides. On the driver side of things, Uber said doing reservation rides can also help them more easily manage their schedules.
For passengers, Uber guarantees the driver will be at the meeting point at the exact scheduled time. If not, the company will give the rider a $50 redemption credit. The passenger is given 15 minutes of leeway to make it to the ride.
“Our new technology aims to have your driver there on the dot,” Tam-Scott said. “Your driver will be there waiting for you, rather than you waiting for your driver.”
Uber Reserve comes with an additional flat fee that differs city to city. It’s typically between $8 and $12. Drivers will get a 72% cut of this fee, while Uber takes the other 28%. If a passenger cancels the trip within an hour of pickup, they’ll still have to pay the full fare.
Uber Reserve will roll out on its premium services Uber Black and Black SUV to about 20 US cities next week, including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas and Seattle. It’ll add new US cities in coming weeks and international cities in coming months. And Uber will bring reservations to its middle-tier services UberX, Comfort and XL by the end of the year.