Can I schedule a ride with Uber in advance? The answer is, finally, Yes!
According to a recent blog post on Uber’s newsroom, Russell Dicker, an Uber product head, stated:
“We’ve heard from our riders that sometimes they want to arrange a pickup in advance so they can rest assured that an Uber will be available when they need it, even if it’s for a 4AM ride to the airport.”
Uber is starting their scheduled rides program in Seattle with plans to expand globally. According to Uber “top business travel cities” will be the next cities to try out Uber’s scheduled rides feature. Dicker also stated that Uber for business customers and riders who have business profiles will be given priority access.
The current scheduling tool only allows users to schedule an UberX styled car for pickup, although users can schedule that car anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 days in advance.
When riders wish to schedule a ride, they will be able to set their desired pickup time (in 15 minute increments) and their pick up location. Uber will then send out 2 reminders, one 24 hours in advance and a second one 30 minutes before the scheduled ride pickup. Up until the second reminder, riders will have the option to change their pickup location or cancel their ride with no penalty.
While scheduled Uber rides may seem like a dream to a lot of riders, there is one negative aspect, surge pricing. According to Uber, if you schedule a ride in advance and then at pick up time surge pricing is active in your area, you will still have to pay the higher fare. While Uber states that they will alert you of the surge in advance and even give you a 5 minute window to cancel without penalty, users may still be stuck scrambling for a cab last minute or forced to pay the higher fare.
While Uber may seem ahead of the curve with scheduled rides, they are actually only following in their competitors footsteps. Lyft, actually announced that they were testing scheduled rides in San Francisco a few weeks ago on their blog.
Currently the only real difference between Lyft’s and Uber’s scheduled rides program is that Lyft’s scheduling options are more short term. Lyft riders can presently only schedule rides between 30 minutes and 24 hours in advance. However, with with the copycat style of competing between Uber and Lyft, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lyft expanded their scheduling time frame!