Starting next month, ridesharing users in a dozen cities can opt in for a $50 an hour ride, Uber Technologies Inc. announced on Friday (May 29).
Following a pilot program in Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, this new feature is aimed at helping Americans with essential trips during the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Francisco-based company said. Fares for typical Uber rides are based on demand and trip distance.
“Within the Uber app, you’ll be able to request this trip as you would any on-demand ride, while setting multiple stops as needed throughout your journey,” Niraj Patel, Uber’s director of rider operations, said in a statement.
The idea came about after listening to Uber users’ feedback about how the ridesharing platform can meet their needs, Patel said.
“Today, we’re doing that by launching an hourly ride option in select cities in the U.S., a new way to ride without having to re-request a trip at each location you visit,” he added.
Hourly bookings will be available in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tacoma and Seattle beginning June 2, Uber said. The company expects expansions to other cities in the following weeks.
Ride-hailing trips, which generate the bulk of Uber’s revenue, fell 80 percent globally in April, Reuters reported. But earlier this month, the company said demand was slowly increasing.
Since May 18, Uber has required riders and drivers around the world to wear face coverings or masks and allows both parties to cancel trips. Failure to comply can lead to account deactivation for both riders and drivers.
“We built this feature for riders that anticipate needing additional flexibility when taking care of essential tasks, and for drivers so that they could access an additional earning opportunity,” said Patel. “We hope this feature makes life easier for all customers during this new normal and challenging time.”
The announcement comes days after four Uber and Lyft drivers filed suit against the state of New York over what they say is a failure to pay their unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit, which names Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Department of Labor, stems from drivers who applied for jobless benefits after the pandemic put them out of work and have yet to see any unemployment money.