On June 2nd private hire app firm Uber launched a trial in a number of American cities that could prove a significant change to their current business model. The pilot scheme introduces a feature that allows vehicles to be booked for multiple destinations during a set period of time and within a limited mileage range.
Currently Uber set fares in most territories that it operates based on the level of demand and the distance travelled. It is said that the new functionality is aimed at helping people to complete essential trips during the coronavirus pandemic. The development is a reaction to passengers requesting an option that reduced their exposure to numerous drivers and vehicles.
The option is expected to be selected by those wishing to make journeys to collect food, medical supplies ad attending appointments. Passengers can make as many stops within the set time and mileage restrictions as it is possible to complete. Uber suffered a reduction in turnover of 80% at the height of the crisis but has indicated that journey volumes are steadily increasing. This move is likely to be an attempt to accelerate that recovery.
The innovation is a step away from its current model in the USA and is more akin to an exclusive booking made to secure the services of a chauffeur. However it is already available on their platform in locations across Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. No doubt if this hourly booking trial in 12 American cities proves successful we can expect to see the firm consider widening its reach and potentially it could be introduced to these shores in the near future.
The current pricing is a set fee of $50 per hour for up to 40 miles per hour. At the moment UK passengers can only select to add up to 2 additional stops to their original destination.
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