Uber is said to be testing a new feature that will allow you to get cheaper Uber rides if you’re willing to wait a bit longer for your ride to pick you up, according to a new report by Quartz. For the time being though, the feature is in testing phase and is only available to employees of Uber. This was discovered after an Uber employee tweeted a screenshot of the new feature, but the tweet has since been deleted.
The Uber employee reportedly attempted to book a ride at 4:56PM for which he would be charged $10.18, and was given the option to book his ride at 5:00PM at a lower charge of $8.15, a reduction of about 20 percent. While the wait time in this case was just four minutes, this could be more or less depending on the prevailing fares at the time of booking. And while you might be willing to wait four minutes, a wait time of even 10-15 minutes could be too much if you need to get somewhere.
In a statement to Quartz, an Uber spokesperson confirmed the feature, “Affordability is a top reason riders choose shared rides, and we’re internally experimenting with a way to save money in exchange for a later pickup.” Uber’s focus on affordability has been evident, and the company has roled out new products and means of reducing the cost of Uber rides over the years. While the service was initially a luxury offering with bigger and more expensive vehicles, it’s now possible to book affordable rides in everyday vehicles as well.
Furthermore, Uber Pool is another popular offering, which lets users share rides with others that are heading in the same general direction, in exchange for lower fares. Uber Pool rides often turn out to be more affordable than city taxi rides over the same distance, and the service is popular with commuters who tend to use it for their daily work commutes.
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While the ‘surge pricing’ phenomenon seems to have all but disappeared, Uber now simply displays the ride fare upfront at the time of booking, without mentioning how much higher it might be as compared to any other time. With this feature, it’s effectively pointing out when a fare might be in ‘surge’ and when that surge will end, without explicitly saying it. Whether this feature eventually rolls out and makes it to India is unclear as of now, but it’s something that could certainly work here, given the price sensitivity of the market and the tendency to look for ways to get a better deal.