Uber has begun allowing customers in Brazil to pay more for shorter waits, due to a driver shortage apparently triggered by rising gas prices.
As Bloomberg News reported on Friday (Oct. 15), the ride-hailing service is testing a feature in three Brazilian cities that will offer priority rides that cost as much as 20% more than the standard fee, with availability based on demand.
Gasoline prices in Brazil have risen 40% over the last year, forcing many drivers off the roads. In the city of Sao Paulo, as many as 25% of the region’s rideshare drivers have quit since the pandemic began, according to the city’s Association of App Drivers.
Uber, which is based in San Francisco, says it is testing this feature ahead of the holidays in anticipation of relaxed COVID restrictions, both of which could trigger a rise in demand for drivers.
This news comes a little more than a week after Uber said that customers of its Uber Black and Uber Black SUV services can book rides up to a month before they’ll need them, in an effort to expedite the process after landing at one of 20 American airports, mostly in the southeast part of the country.
The process will see customers adding the flight information into the app, which will automatically adjust a reservation if a flight arrives early or gets delayed. Drivers will wait up to an hour for their passengers with no additional charge. The company says this new system could help riders avoid the long lines that were triggered by the driver shortage.
The airport booking option can be found on the Uber app under the “Reserve” tab. It is available at 20 airports, including O’Hare International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Denver International Airport and Dulles International Airport.