The Uber app has become somewhat of a necessity in today’s modern society. It shot to fame by offering on-demand, cross-city transportation at the touch of your phone’s screen.
As much as it grew in popularity, prices can sometimes get a little… expensive, especially during peak periods when prices surge to exorbitant levels.
So naturally, Uber started offering carpooling services.
Known as uberPOOL, it gives riders the option for a more affordable method of reaching their destinations. That’s if they have a little more time to spare, and don’t mind sharing a car with strangers.
Here’s The Problem With uberPOOL
That’s not to say that uberPOOL doesn’t come with its fair share of troubles that constantly draw the ire of users.
One is the matching of ride mates.
Just do a quick search on communities on the internet and you are bound to come across endless discussions of how uberPOOL has taken them on pretty much an extensive tour of their cities.
If the matching problem wasn’t enough of a hassle, you also have to play the waiting game when your driver goes to pick up the next rider.
And with people being people, there are bound to be times when they will be very, very late.
This will then bring about a domino effect, causing a delay in the journey for those already in the car, or those waiting to be picked up, thus making the entire ride a severely unpleasant one.
This Is Uber’s Solution
People often forget this, but more than just a transportation company, Uber is also a technology company, and they want to use that very tech to improve the overall experiences of all their services – and this is what’s going to happen with uberPOOL.
Today, they’ve announced some changes, and the first thing on the agenda is to enable faster pickups between users. This will be achieved through a two pronged approach.
One is a status notification for riders.
Uber wants you by the roadside by the time your driver reaches your pickup point, so to better bring this point across, the Uber app will now show you real-time status updates such as “be ready outside,” and “leaving shortly”, as well as updated push notifications reminders.
On the driver side of things, they will now see a countdown timer for their companion app.
This means that at any pickup, riders will only have a grace period of 2 minutes to get into their ride from the time the driver arrives at the designated pickup location.
If you cannot make it in time for your ride, the driver will receive a prompt to move on to the next pickup location, leaving you behind with nothing but a no-show fee to compensate for lost time.
Uber also has made it a point to further improve matchmaking.
Through the uberPOOL ecosystem that is built upon complex algorithms, Uber recognises that changes can come in a split second – especially with the recent changes implemented for uberPOOL.
To take it to the next level, they are introducing Automatic Trip Upgrades to find you the best possible driver and rider matches, even if you already have a match.
If they find a better combination for your ride, expect to see it swapped immediately, and a push notification will alert you of the changes.
Then there’s Predictive Matching, where Uber will use your previous trips’ data to estimate convenient matches along your route.
Like Trip Upgrades, while you may get connected with a driver upon request, rider matches will see a slight delay in future trips if the app thinks that the likelihood of a better match in your vicinity is higher, so to make the trip as convenient and efficient as possible.
Released As A Response To GrabShare?
While this update is an international one, we can’t help but notice that certain changes seem to be meted as response to the recent announcement of GrabShare by Southeast Asian rivals Grab.
GrabShare also promises to make better matches for riders and drivers through their own complex algorithms for faster pickups, and also have a countdown timer for drivers when picking up a rider.
We could be wrong though. With Uber saying that users can stand to save up to 40% as compared to UberX, they are certainly pushing this aspect of their service.
The only thing they need now is for more users to catch onto it.