Uber says that it’s “completely reimagined the way drivers accept rides” with a feature called “upfront fares,” which shows drivers exactly how much they’ll be paid for a trip and where they’ll end up after dropping a rider off. In its announcement on Friday, the company says the change is part of its push to make driving for the rideshare service more flexible. Uber’s also planning on rolling out a feature that lets drivers see other ride requests in their area, letting them pick specific trips they’d like to do.
For riders, the changes, which have been tested in select locations, could mean fewer canceled trips because a driver doesn’t actually want to go to the destination, or realizes that it won’t be a very profitable trip.
According to an upfront fee support document, the amount shown to drivers before they accept a trip is based on “several factors, including base fares, estimated trip length and duration, pickup distance, and surge pricing.” The document notes that if the rider changes the drop-off address or there’s “unexpected traffic” along the route, the fare will be adjusted. The number also doesn’t include things like tips or wait times.
The document does warn that the switch to upfront fares, set to roll out “to most of the US over the coming months,” could mean that some types of trips earn drivers less. As examples, it lists “long and relatively quick (traffic-free) trips” and “trips to high-demand areas.” However, it also says that the new system will mean drivers earn more on short trips, trips with lots of traffic, trips where they end up in an area with fewer riders, or trips where they have to travel a long way before getting to the rider.
Uber didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment on what areas of the US wouldn’t be getting upfront fares.
Alongside upfront fares, Uber says it’ll be more widely rolling out a feature called trip radar, which gives drivers a list of nearby ride requests. Drivers will be able to pick the trips they want from the list, and if Uber decides it’s a good match, it’ll give them the job. (An article from Uber says that it’ll choose which drivers get their picks based on average wait times for drivers and riders.) Uber also says that drivers will still get individual ride requests, but that they’ll be able to use trip radar to find “another trip that might work better for them.”
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