Most people prefer to plan tasks in advance to fit them in their hectic schedules. Even mundane tasks such as requesting for an Uber could take up so much time.
Soon, however, it would take up time no more. Uber Technologies Inc. announced on Thursday a new feature that will allow passengers to request rides 30 minutes up to 30 days ahead of time.
Whether it is a ride to the airport at the crack of dawn or a ride to a business event, Uber will automatically send a ride to passengers who use the Scheduled Rides feature.
For now, the new feature takes effect in Seattle with UberX — the company's most popular service. Other top business travel cities will follow suit.
The new feature also prioritizes business travelers, but it will be made broadly available to all riders as Uber continues the rollout.
Passengers can schedule the ride in a few simple taps. It's fairly easy to do: you set the pickup time, date, pickup location and destination. You will get a fare estimate, and you can edit or cancel your trip any time before the ride is ready.
Is it more expensive than normal UberX rides? The company says the price is the same, but it is subject to pricing conditions at the future time that the request is made.
Surge pricing may also apply, but since it is a real-time computation, passengers will only be able to see the base fare when they first pre-arrange their ride.
If passengers do not want to pay the surge pricing, they can cancel the ride without a penalty within five minutes after the driver confirms he is on his way.
After five minutes, standard cancellation fee applies, which differs per city. In Seattle and San Francisco, the fee is $5. In Paris, it is 5 Euros.
Uber is an on-demand company that relies on immediate requests, so its new feature marks a significant change in the company's operations.
The fact that the company is prioritizing business travelers means it seeks to expand its customer base to more business-minded patrons.
"Even though we're an on-demand company, we totally get it," says Uber's Global Experiences Director Tom Fallows. He says passengers often want extra assurance that Uber will be there when they want to leave.
In May, Uber's main rival Lyft announced it would test scheduled rides in San Francisco, but the scheduled rides can only be made 24 hours in advance.
Meanwhile, passengers can sign up for early access to Scheduled Rides on Uber's website.
Photo: Free Stocks | Flickr