Uber Updates iOS App With New Features Aimed at Simplifying Pickups

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Uber today announced new tools for its iOS app that aim to simplify and streamline stressful pickup situations for both riders and drivers.

To start, there's a new "Spotlight" feature that will light up the rider's iPhone display with a bright, color-specific hue. The driver will be notified to which color has been chosen, so when the rider holds their iPhone in the air they'll know exactly who to pick up.


Uber has been testing such a system since late 2015 with technology that displayed a chosen color inside of the driver's car using a small mounted light. Those tests eventually became "Uber Beacons," which drivers can purchase to place in their vehicles so that riders can more easily find them.

The ride-hailing company has also committed to a new guarantee for on-time scheduled pickups, promising riders that they'll make important appointments when setting a specific time and place for an upcoming Uber ride. If riders are ever late for an appointment, the company will give them Uber credit for their next ride.

Lastly, Uber has added in short "Pickup Messages" that riders can send to their drivers and vice versa. The company says that riders can send helpful visual hints like details of clothing to drivers, and when the message is received the Uber Driver app reads it aloud so drivers aren't distracted. Uber first began allowing in-app chats between riders and drivers last August.

Next, Uber says that users can expect more features and updates aimed at "taking the stress out of the experience" coming later this year.

Article Link: Uber Updates iOS App With New Features Aimed at Simplifying Pickups
 

newyorksole

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2008
4,036
4,369
New York.
Honesty some of these changes should’ve made a long time ago.

Riders really need to get smarter and just look at their device to see where the car is. The app tells you EXACTLY where the car is for the most part, yet when I take an UberPOOL some people call the driver and are sooo confused.

Also, drivers need to update their contact info. There’s no reason why they don’t get my calls/texts. It should be easy to communicate with each other.
 
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dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
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This is a welcome change. They always have a hard time finding you in a group of people at a rideshare stand.
 

rjtyork

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2009
183
298
Next: require a gate code to be given to the driver BEFORE being allowed to summon a ride to a gated community. I am so sick of getting to the gate and then my passenger gets pissed at me for not coming to their house. I’m hard of hearing so I can’t really call you and people seem to just ignore my text messages asking for the code. I don’t get some people.
 

tjleonard

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2013
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I love this idea. I initially skipped the article on my first pass but looking at it is a brilliant idea.
 

sentiblue

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2012
194
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Silicon Valley
Also, drivers need to update their contact info. There’s no reason why they don’t get my calls/texts. It should be easy to communicate with each other.
It's actually very easy to make sure 100% that the drivers got the current phone number on file. Every time the driver goes online, send them a text message and require them to enter the code back.

As for the pickup identification, yes they definitely help but actually I've always been able to identify my drivers from far away by car type/color. If a bunch of vehicles are already at the airport, I can ID them with the license plate. These new features will help riders that don't pay attention.

However, recently I was forced to remove my credit card number from the Uber app and switched to using Lyft. Someone was able to get my account name from Uber, tried to register it on a different phone repeatedly. I knew that because I received dozens of confirmation text within few hours. I reached out to Uber for help but they took nearly a week to respond. And when they did, they actually copied and pasted a standard message. I gave Uber 1 star for customer service rating and won't switch back unless Lyft becomes worst than Uber.


Edit to add:
After removing all credit cards from the phone app, I logged onto their website and they still seem to have all my cards on records. However, they removed the "Help" item from my web UI. There's no possible way for me to contact them for help.
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Next: require a gate code to be given to the driver BEFORE being allowed to summon a ride to a gated community. I am so sick of getting to the gate and then my passenger gets pissed at me for not coming to their house.
You don't need that... if a rider is from a gated community and he's silly enough to expect you at his door, he's not a reasonable customer and you don't need him. He should make himself available at the gate period.
 
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cmwade77

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2008
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Was hoping that they included Apple Maps integration again but no :(
Of course not, Apple Maps doesn't work right and the drivers would get lost.
[doublepost=1531761258][/doublepost]
You don't need that... if a rider is from a gated community and he's silly enough to expect you at his door, he's not a reasonable customer and you don't need him. He should make himself available at the gate period.
I can definitely think of situations where this wouldn't be reasonable, such as an elderly or disabled person that may not be able to walk to the gate, so they ask for an Uber. But they should definitely send the gate code or at least instructions in that case.
 

thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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I like the on-time guarantee. I think roughly 25% of the time I'll look at the initial estimate, as an example let's say it's four minutes, and note the time, four minutes later the driver hasn't budged on the map and the estimate is now five minutes =)) I can understand how traffic and whatnot can impact ETA but when you're just sitting in your car finishing your coffee (or whatever it is you are doing) for the full ETA after accepting my ride, that's an issue.

I also heard from my driver picking me up at the airport this weekend that they've now created a policy for drivers that if the pickup is a short drive (not sure what they define that as but I was going to a location within a few miles) then that driver will be put at the top of the queue for the next airport ride. They've had a problem of drivers canceling short rides since they want to keep their ratio of waiting to driving low. So this provides an incentive to the driver to take that ride knowing they won't wait a long time for a more significant ride to follow. Sounds like a good solution to that issue.

As a fairly regular traveler for both business and pleasure I LOVE that fact that Uber exists (as compared to car services which were spotty and taxis which were [and likely are] absolutely terrible) but I'm glad they continue to find ways to improve as well.
 

Elijen

macrumors 6502
May 8, 2012
413
623
Honesty some of these changes should’ve made a long time ago.

Riders really need to get smarter and just look at their device to see where the car is. The app tells you EXACTLY where the car is for the most part, yet when I take an UberPOOL some people call the driver and are sooo confused.

Also, drivers need to update their contact info. There’s no reason why they don’t get my calls/texts. It should be easy to communicate with each other.
I never tried UberPOOL, but sometimes I get annoyed how Uber drivers stop 1 block away and expect me to walk to them. How hard is it to stop at the requested location?
 
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wolfshades

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2007
431
548
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Man I LOVE these changes. As it is, I usually stand outside, waving my iPhone around like an idiot, and waving taxi drivers away. Now I can still wave my iPhone around like an idiot but this time with a colour code. There will still be hopeful taxi drivers thinking I'm flagging them down, but maybe that'll get reduced. Or not. I don't know.

For those who are thinking about the guaranteed arrival times - that refers to pre-booked Uber appointments, for things like scheduled rides to the airport and such, and not those pesky 4 minutes versus 5 minutes estimates.

[Edit: is anyone seeing these new features yet? I'm in Canada so maybe it hasn't rolled out here yet. And the Uber app was updated today here.]
 
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thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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I never tried UberPOOL, but sometimes I get annoyed how Uber drivers stop 1 block away and expect me to walk to them. How hard is it to stop at the requested location?
I guess context matters in that scenario. If they did that to me in some uncongested location I'd be annoyed but I've never had it happen. When they do this in the city I completely understand, it could take another eight to ten minutes for them to loop around the block and pick me up versus me just walking over to the corner. I'd rather walk and save that ten minutes.

I've had drivers (once I'm in the vehicle) suggest ways to save time too. At airports mostly if it's a time of day where departures are heavy I've had them suggest they drop me off at arrivals. It's always been suggested very politely and sometimes I appreciate the option as a win-win if I'm pressed for time but I've never had anyone react badly if I'd turned down their offer either (maybe I have plenty of time to catch my flight and I'm feeling lazy and don't want to walk :p )
 
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newyorksole

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2008
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I never tried UberPOOL, but sometimes I get annoyed how Uber drivers stop 1 block away and expect me to walk to them. How hard is it to stop at the requested location?
I’ve experienced that a few times. It doesn’t really bother me unless it’s freezing cold outside. I take a lot of UberPOOLs so it’s normal for me to have to walk a couple of blocks.

Regular UberX’s should be picking you up exxxactly where you are.
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
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I’ve experienced that a few times. It doesn’t really bother me unless it’s freezing cold outside. I take a lot of UberPOOLs so it’s normal for me to have to walk a couple of blocks.

Regular UberX’s should be picking you up exxxactly where you are.
I’ve never had to walk for POOL, they still come to you like a regular Uber.
 

newyorksole

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2008
4,036
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New York.
I’ve never had to walk for POOL, they still come to you like a regular Uber.
Nahhh not in NYC. When you request a POOL here, it usually chooses a spot a block or 2 away. So what I do is move the pin to a location a block or so away so that way it ends up routing to a location closer to where I actually am.

Usually when I request it the pickup spot is very close.
 

Elijen

macrumors 6502
May 8, 2012
413
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I guess context matters in that scenario. If they did that to me in some uncongested location I'd be annoyed but I've never had it happen. When they do this in the city I completely understand, it could take another eight to ten minutes for them to loop around the block and pick me up versus me just walking over to the corner. I'd rather walk and save that ten minutes.
When it happens to me it's almost always much faster to drive to me so they don't save any time by waiting on the opposite side of the block. Also often they just stop without any indication that would let me know I should start walking instead of waiting for them which further delays the journey.

Would be great if they could just simply send a message (even automated) telling the rider that they can't come any closer because of traffic or other problem.
 
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