If you are anything like me, then most of your local travels involve hailing an Uber cab. Home to office, office to meeting up friends, I find taking an Uber the most convenient, and I have been doing this since the past three years now. And with that long-term dependence on the service, I have had my share of experiences with Uber. And one of the most pertinent part of that experience is the ETAs.
Now, any avid user of Uber cabs would know that while the service is commodious, the beginning of these rides can be a little irksome sometimes. By beginning I am talking about the time when you haven’t even boarded the cab, and you are waiting for the driver to arrive. The discrepancy in the ETAs can be very different from what the app shows. My driver has sometimes reached in two minutes when the ETA shows ten, and sometimes for a 3 minutes ETA, they have taken a good 20 minutes.
Which means, that while Uber works amazingly in-sync with Google Maps when a ride begins, with showing almost perfect ETAs to your destination, Uber is not able to judge that very well when it comes to their drivers reaching their riders. And this can get worse in case of an UberPOOL, which is about 20 percent of the total Uber rides in regions where the pool service is available.
Estimated time of arrival to be improved
Fortunately, Uber isn’t unaware of these issues and they promise to be dedicating a lot of time and resources into fixing this. Uber Maps and Marketplace head, Manik Gupta told BGR India that the company understands this to be affecting the user experience and “Uber is investing heavily in solving this issue.” ALSO READ: Uber will suspend dynamic pricing during odd-even program in Delhi
Like mentioned earlier, this problem is especially bigger when it comes to UberPool. Gupta says that this is a “problem nobody has solved”. Because, unlike in UberGo where only two subjects are being looked at – the driver and the rider – in UberPool, the problem is more complex with the driver, existing rider, and the rider who is about to join, in question. “So the dilemma here is who should bear the inconvenience”
Gupta admits that area of ETAs in Uber is ripe for innovation. He says, “We are constantly working on improving our mapping technology, routing, ETAs. We have a lot of improvement for ETAs. It is a very interesting problem space, and if you come to think of it, it is also a very India specific problem. So it is our goal to achieve more accurate ETA, to be able to build trusted reliability for ETAs.” He added, “in the coming quarters, you will see substantial improvement to the same, which we are doing on priority.”
He reveals that Uber has dedicatedly been working on thinking of ways as to how can they nudge people to walk the extra distance, when it comes UberPool. ALSO READ: Uber approves SoftBank’s $10 billion investment offer: Report
A new review and rating function
Further, Gupta also spoke about a new functions under the driver reviews and ratings that will be coming to India soon. Anybody who regularly takes an Uber in India must have at least once come across a driver who pretty much pushes you into giving them a five star rating. As annoying as that can be, that shows how important the ratings are for these drivers to stay in the game.
Earlier this year, Uber added a new function to this feature, called compliments, where riders could give compliments like good conversation, great driving, if the driver was a good navigator, so hence so forth. But this works only when you share a five star rating. ALSO READ: Uber Premier debuts in India; will be available at UberX rates in 2 cities
But what happens when a rider gives a driver a bad rating for not fault of theirs? And do not deny that you have never gotten unreasonably pissed by the driver and just cut down their stars. Understand the same issue, Uber is piloting a new function is the US, wherein riders will get a breakdown for feedback, when they give their rating. So that, when you given a driver a rating of say three, you will further be asked the basis on which they have rated low, with options like driving, language, car maintenance, etc.
In the words of Manik Gupta, Uber is a “work in progress”, and they are constantly working on optimizing the user and rider experience, to be able to create an ideal world for both. Now we have to wait and see how much of that it achieves and how soon. ALSO READ: Uber to test flying taxi in Los Angeles by 2020