Uber prices get higher as demand increases, but they also decrease as that demand cools off.
There are times when you need to get an Uber right away, even if it’s at a peak hour and prices are through the roof. But there are also times when you have the luxury of waiting for your Uber to arrive — those are the instances Uber had in mind when it cooked up an experimental feature that allows you to wait for a cheaper ride.
The ride-hailing company is testing a feature that lets its customers take advantage of the new offer which entails telling them when fares are expected to get lower or higher. It also will help let riders know if they are willing to wait, they will find themselves a cheaper fare.
Uber hasn’t publicly announced the feature, but in a tweet first spotted by Quartz, it is revealed that Uber is testing an option to have a longer wait time in exchange for a cheaper ride. An Uber employee in Berkeley, California, tweeted a screenshot of the feature. A screenshotted images which shows that “At 4.56pm, the fare was $10.18. ‘If you’re OK leaving later, we’ll request your ride at 17:00 for a lower price,’
An Uber spokesperson later confirmed to Quartz that the company is testing the feature among its employees in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
‘’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,’ the spokesperson said.
The new feature comes at the same time as Uber Lite, a low-data ‘Lite’ version of its app in India in an effort to expand its service in emerging markets. The slimmed-down app requires just 5MB of free space to install – about the same as three selfies, and around 176MB less than the standard Uber application.
The company has also recently applied for a patent for technology to let its drivers know exactly how drunk passengers are before they pick them up. It will use an AI system to identify a user’s level of intoxication based on how they’re holding their phone.
This is in stark contrast to surge pricing, when Uber raises rates when there’s a lot of rider demand. If the fare-lowering feature makes it out of the testing phase, it could mean that, if you’re willing to exercise some patience, you could save a few bucks or pounds on your next ride.
Of course, there may be times when it doesn’t make sense to wait, such as if you’re alone at night and want to get home as soon as possible. Hopefully the ride hailing company comes up with cost-saving solutions that work for all riders, in various situations.