DC-area Uber users can now schedule rides

WASHINGTON — The wait is over. Uber is taking the waiting out of its ride-hailing system with a new “schedule” tool rolling out in the D.C. area.

Uber users can schedule rides with UberX — the ride-hailing service’s lowest-cost option, the company announced Thursday. The option will be available beginning Thursday and will roll out to all users in the area within the next couple weeks.

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The new option is part of Uber’s “Pooling Together” initiative to give D.C.-area passengers options during Metro’s SafeTrack program, the nearly yearlong reconstruction project of the transit system.

“It gives just a little bit extra piece of mind for anybody that needs to get to an important meeting, catch a 4 a.m. flight or get to a job interview,” said Uber spokesman Bill Gibbons.

Riders can schedule a pickup anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 days in advance. Uber will notify the rider 24 hours and 30 minutes before the scheduled pickup time as well as when the driver is on the way.

There is no added cost to schedule a ride, and surge pricing applies at the time of the pickup. The scheduling feature, which is already in use in select cities around the country, was one of the top requests from riders in the D.C. area, Gibbons said.

Worried about the driver coming through for that ride you scheduled a month ago? Gibbons said the scheduled rides are just as reliable as the on-demand option.

“We know we are going to have the drivers in the right times at the right places,” Gibbons said of scheduling. “We are confident that when you press the button, you’re going to get a reliable ride.”

Scheduling FTUE Overlay
A look at the schedule feature on Uber. (Courtesy Uber)

Uber is thinking differently about its business as Metro track work impacts commutes region wide and the company reportedly loses money. Uber lost at least $1.27 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first six months of 2016, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Giving riders the control they seek, especially as Metro reliability sinks, is just one way Uber is adjusting its business.

“One of the promises that we made was to push our technologies further and get creative to get people where they needed to go,” Gibbons said.

Here’s how to schedule a ride through Uber:

  • Select uberX and tap “Schedule a Ride.”
  • Set your pickup date, time, location, and destination.
  • Confirm the details of your upcoming trip and tap “Schedule uberX.” Users can cancel at any time before the ride is on the way.
  • Uber will send the rider reminders both 24 hours and 30 minutes in advance of the pickup. Riders will be notified after the ride is on the way, as well as whether surge pricing applies.

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