Uber Tests Longer Wait Times in Exchange for Cheaper Rides


Uber, the mega-ride-hailing company, is experimenting with allowing customers to wait longer for a ride in exchange for lower rates.

The revelation was made by an employee who tweeted a screenshot of a ride request on the app with a message under it that read, “Prices are lower at 17:00…If you’re OK leaving later, we’ll request your ride at 17:00 for a lower price.”

The image showed the customer requested a ride at 4:56 P.M and that the cost for the trip at that time would have been $10.18. But if the employee wanted to wait less than 5 minutes until 17:00 (5 P.M.), he would pay only $8.15 or more than $2 less.

The original tweet was deleted after the news site Quartz ran a story about it but it can be viewed here.

The company confirmed the testing of the new program to Quartz in a subsequent email. “Affordability is a top reason riders choose shared rides, and we’re internally experimenting with a way to save money in exchange for a later pickup,” a spokeswoman said.

The company said the option is currently being tested among Uber employees in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Uber has been the subject of negative publicity in recent days as it was revealed that the backup human driver in a self-driving car involved in a fatal pedestrian crash in March was watching a television show on her mobile phone instead of watching the road. The car hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, at about 10 P.M. on the night of March 18.

Company policy strictly prohibits mobile device usage while drivers are operating self-driving vehicles. Uber suspended testing of all driverless cars nationwide in the wake of the incident but has since resumed testing in San Francisco and Pittsburgh, it says.

Photo by Mark Warner via Flickr

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