Uber has launched a couple of features designed to improve the experience of and increase transparency for drivers. A few months ago, the ride-hailing giant started piloting a feature called “Upfront Fares” in a handful of cities. Now it’s expanding its availability and rolling it out to most of the US over the coming months. When they get access to the features, drivers will see how much they’ll earn and where they’re going for a trip on the request screen before they accept the booking.
According to the Help page explaining how Upfront Fares work, Uber calculates the amount it shows using several factors, “including base fares, estimated trip length and duration, pickup distance and surge pricing.” Uber will also show drivers the cross streets closest to the pick up and drop-off points to help them make a decision. In addition, Uber will also expand the availability of “Trip Radar,” a feature that shows drivers a list of possible trips nearby, along with Upfront Fares. They’ll still get individual trip requests, but now they can pick another booking that might suit them better.
Uber is positioning these new features as a way to support its drivers, but as Axios notes, the impact they may have on customers remains unclear. They could end up being misused and lead to the increase of rider and trip discrimination if drivers look at them as tools to avoid specific neighborhoods. That said, the features could also prevent canceled trips, because they allow drivers to make a conscious decision when accepting trips.
The company has also launched a new Uber Pro debit card that will enable drivers to earn cashbacks for getting gas at select stations. Back in March, Uber added a fuel surcharge to rides and deliveries, as well, to help drivers keep up with skyrocketing gas prices.