Uber's Latest Test Feature Gives You a Discount if You're Patient Enough to Wait a Bit

By Tom Pritchard on at

If you've used Uber for any extended period of time, you'll know full well how the pricing system works. Basically if there's high enough demand, ie too many customers and not enough drivers, the far price goes up. Not enough customers and too many drivers, price goes down. Usually there's not much you can do about that, but Uber has confirmed it's testing a feature that lets people request at a later time and save themselves some money.

This feature was spotted when an Uber employee tweeted out a screenshot, showing that the app was offering him a cheaper ride if he waited a few minutes longer for his car. Quartz spotted this, though the tweet was promptly deleted. Fortunately there is an archived version available here, so you can see what we're talking about. Essentially the app gives you a choice when you set up the ride request, letting you send one out right away for $X or wait a few minutes and save yourself some money.

Apparently the tweet involved a four minute wait, that led to a 25 per cent drop in price. That's not insignificant, and four minutes isn't exactly a long time. Bohemian Rhapsody is just over six.

The test was later confirmed by Uber. It's being tested among employees in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a spokeswoman explaining the reasoning:

“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.”

It's a good idea, provided the app shows you the correct price when you opt to wait. Choosing to wait a few minutes and suddenly being told to pay more is going to piss a lot of people off. Naturally this is still in the testing stage, and there's no way of knowing if and when it will roll out to the public version of the app. Still, it's a good sign that Uber is willing to find ways to let passengers save money - and without doing a generalised price cut that's going to significantly impact driver takings across the board. [Quartz via 9to5Mac]