Following Lyft’s Lead, Uber Will Soon Let You Schedule Rides As Well

A couple of weeks back I wrote about how Lyft was testing out allowing people to schedule rides through the app. It’s an interesting progression of on-demand ridesharing services, given that one of the selling points has long been that you can request a ride on the spot, and have someone pick you up within minutes.

A lot of people said the scheduling feature would be useful in cases where you need an early morning ride to the airport, etc. However, I’m not sure I really see the upside:

  • The app will basically just automatically request a car a few minutes before your ride was requested for, so if there aren’t any cars available, I imagine you’re still out of luck
  • You’re not actually locking in pricing, so can still be subject to surge pricing

Well, it looks like Uber is now following Lyft’s lead, as Uber will soon let you schedule rides as well. Here’s a demonstration of how it works:

Uber-Schedule-Rides

Uber is first testing out scheduled rides in Seattle for their business customers. Rides can be scheduled between 30 minutes and 30 days out, and it’s available exclusively for UberX rides as of now. The cancellation policy will be the same as it usually is — you can cancel up until five minutes after the driver was dispatched.

The ability to schedule rides should be expanded further soon, and you can sign-up here to receive early access to their scheduling feature.

Uber-Rides

Bottom line

It’s nice to see Uber add this feature, though let’s hope it’s rolled out beyond Seattle soon. While it’s personally not something I see much value in (since the app is basically just auto-requesting a ride for you several minutes before you’re ready), I know being able to schedule a ride puts a lot of people at ease, and therefore may prove valuable to some.

Comments

  1. If the app works as you just described by auto-requesting a ride a few minutes before the pickup, I think it’s useless. I REALLY want a schedule feature, but I want it guaranteed. Often at 4am there aren’t any close by cars in San Diego, so I’ve switched to an old school “limo” service for early morning pickups. I have yet to try schedule based pickup apps like Wingz. I would find high value in a guaranteed pickup, and would use it often. But I expect a better implementation than just an auto-request where it’s a crapshoot if there’s anyone nearby at 4am.

  2. Agree. I still stick with a regular driver I can depend on (and knows how to get to my house). I pay less for a black car than Uber Black.
    I do use UberX from DFW to Dallas as it is quite reasonable ($26) but get a black car directly from the hotel, waiting right there, at a flat $56 often during an Uber surge.
    I had fun discovering my Uber app worked in Beijing. Worked like a charm at an insanely cheap price (since it is heavily subsidized there). Paid about $4 to go across half the city but the phone call to respond to the driver where I was (at an intersection a block away from him :S) cost me $10 🙁

  3. Gett’s scheduled rides, here in Israel, is the only way I travel to the airport. They are always reliable, even when at 2:30am when I’m making it to the 4:50am flight.

  4. The scheduled ride will mean I can get to the airport before 7am in Albuquerque – the city is a ghost town in the early morning. I’ve thought about signing up as a driver the weeks I don’t travel, sticking myself up in the nicer part of town 20 miles from the airport, and picking up those easy early morning airport runs.

    Currently I take the car, and have my wife Uber to the airport to pick it up before her work hours later when the drivers start to come online.

    I’ve begged and begged Uber to set up a surge price in those early morning hours (3am to 6am) to encourage someone to be willing to be ready to drive.

  5. I think maybe this booking in advance feature is most important in countries that are in the developing world. Sure it’s an obvious convenience anywhere. In the US for example where I’m from it can certainly happen that you’ll have bad luck and will wait a long time for a cab in NYC for example. In India where I’m now based, your options could possible be more limited depending on the city you are in. If you depended on that booked cab depending on where you are, there may not be too many other options. Just to throw that out there…

  6. I think this is a great feature that they were missing. Scheduling rides makes things more convenient and allows one to plan ahead. Wonder what kind of effect it will have on their ridership.

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