The ride-hailing company is working on creating the right infrastructure to allow the users of its app to book trips up to 30 days in advance. The company said that the feature will come in handy to users having busy schedules or a flight to catch.
The new option will be initially rolled out in the Seattle area on Thursday, but the company vowed to expand the service to other municipalities. Uber’s Tom Fallows noted that the new feature will allow especially business users to sleep better at night knowing that their ride will be there on time as requested.
For now only users with a business account will be able to test out the new service. The company reassured its clients that the scheduled trips won’t be extra charged. Still, the surge pricing still applies if the demand is too high.
For example, if you scheduled a ride for Friday night and there is too high demand, Uber drivers will be notified that there is a surge. The same system applies to regular rides too. Customers can cancel rides if there is a surge even if the driver is on his way if they do it within 5 minutes following the notification.
The new service will be available only for UberX lines and is slated to cover other cars and lines soon. The company explained that it has picked Seattle to test the service because the developers that designed the system live there and there is a larger traffic of business travelers.
Fallows said that the company hasn’t rolled out the service earlier because of the software infrastructure. Developers need to tweak algorithms to train the system into determining the right moment to select a driver to take up a booked ride.
Computer algorithms rely on various factors to do this such as position, traffic, and the chances that a driver will not reject a request. This is why the fittest driver to pick up a scheduled trip is not the closest to the traveler requesting it.
Follows explained that algorithms often choose a driver that has the car occupied but he or she is about to drop the customer next to the business traveler’s home or pickup location.
The company said that it eagerly waits for customer feedback to help it improve the service.
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