So much for "on demand" meaning "right this moment". Uber is moving beyond the "on-demand economy" by testing a feature that lets users schedule a ride anywhere from 30 minutes to one month in advance. Car companies, beware. Image: AP
The new feature, which launched this week in Seattle, will first be available for UberX only, but the company has promised (threatened?) that it will expand to other cities and for regular Uber customers. Scheduled rides will be the usual price, but users better have a good sense for how bad traffic will be whenever they will need the lift. Riders get charged surge pricing if the time of the ride, not the time of the scheduling, is particularly busy.
The feature is mostly for businessmen catching planes who "sleep better knowing their Uber ride is arranged," says Uber director of global experience Tom Fallows. Apparently, these men seem not to have realised that there are scheduled ride companies available, or would rather toss and turn than betray the Uber brand.
Uber's not the first one to venture into the world of scheduled rides. Lyft announced scheduled rides last month in San Francisco only, and it's only a matter of time before the two spread across the world and businessmen everywhere can feel safe knowing they don't have to wait seven entire minutes for their Ubers to take them to their airport.