Uber Updates iOS App With New Features Aimed at Simplifying Pickups

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Uber today announced new tools for its iOS app that aim to simplify and streamline stressful pickup situations for both riders and drivers.

To start, there's a new "Spotlight" feature that will light up the rider's iPhone display with a bright, color-specific hue. The driver will be notified to which color has been chosen, so when the rider holds their iPhone in the air they'll know exactly who to pick up.


Uber has been testing such a system since late 2015 with technology that displayed a chosen color inside of the driver's car using a small mounted light. Those tests eventually became "Uber Beacons," which drivers can purchase to place in their vehicles so that riders can more easily find them.

The ride-hailing company has also committed to a new guarantee for on-time scheduled pickups, promising riders that they'll make important appointments when setting a specific time and place for an upcoming Uber ride. If riders are ever late for an appointment, the company will give them Uber credit for their next ride.

Lastly, Uber has added in short "Pickup Messages" that riders can send to their drivers and vice versa. The company says that riders can send helpful visual hints like details of clothing to drivers, and when the message is received the Uber Driver app reads it aloud so drivers aren't distracted. Uber first began allowing in-app chats between riders and drivers last August.

Next, Uber says that users can expect more features and updates aimed at "taking the stress out of the experience" coming later this year.

Tag: Uber

Top Rated Comments

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25 months ago
Spotlight might go a long way to ending the "airport dance" where a dozen riders are waiting for Lyft and Uber rides and the passengers hop off and on the curb to see if the car that just pulled up is theirs.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

Also, drivers need to update their contact info. There’s no reason why they don’t get my calls/texts. It should be easy to communicate with each other.

It's actually very easy to make sure 100% that the drivers got the current phone number on file. Every time the driver goes online, send them a text message and require them to enter the code back.

As for the pickup identification, yes they definitely help but actually I've always been able to identify my drivers from far away by car type/color. If a bunch of vehicles are already at the airport, I can ID them with the license plate. These new features will help riders that don't pay attention.

However, recently I was forced to remove my credit card number from the Uber app and switched to using Lyft. Someone was able to get my account name from Uber, tried to register it on a different phone repeatedly. I knew that because I received dozens of confirmation text within few hours. I reached out to Uber for help but they took nearly a week to respond. And when they did, they actually copied and pasted a standard message. I gave Uber 1 star for customer service rating and won't switch back unless Lyft becomes worst than Uber.


Edit to add:
After removing all credit cards from the phone app, I logged onto their website and they still seem to have all my cards on records. However, they removed the "Help" item from my web UI. There's no possible way for me to contact them for help.
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Next: require a gate code to be given to the driver BEFORE being allowed to summon a ride to a gated community. I am so sick of getting to the gate and then my passenger gets pissed at me for not coming to their house.

You don't need that... if a rider is from a gated community and he's silly enough to expect you at his door, he's not a reasonable customer and you don't need him. He should make himself available at the gate period.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
Honesty some of these changes should’ve made a long time ago.

Riders really need to get smarter and just look at their device to see where the car is. The app tells you EXACTLY where the car is for the most part, yet when I take an UberPOOL some people call the driver and are sooo confused.

Also, drivers need to update their contact info. There’s no reason why they don’t get my calls/texts. It should be easy to communicate with each other.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

Honesty some of these changes should’ve made a long time ago.

Riders really need to get smarter and just look at their device to see where the car is. The app tells you EXACTLY where the car is for the most part, yet when I take an UberPOOL some people call the driver and are sooo confused.

Also, drivers need to update their contact info. There’s no reason why they don’t get my calls/texts. It should be easy to communicate with each other.

I never tried UberPOOL, but sometimes I get annoyed how Uber drivers stop 1 block away and expect me to walk to them. How hard is it to stop at the requested location?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

I never tried UberPOOL, but sometimes I get annoyed how Uber drivers stop 1 block away and expect me to walk to them. How hard is it to stop at the requested location?

I guess context matters in that scenario. If they did that to me in some uncongested location I'd be annoyed but I've never had it happen. When they do this in the city I completely understand, it could take another eight to ten minutes for them to loop around the block and pick me up versus me just walking over to the corner. I'd rather walk and save that ten minutes.

I've had drivers (once I'm in the vehicle) suggest ways to save time too. At airports mostly if it's a time of day where departures are heavy I've had them suggest they drop me off at arrivals. It's always been suggested very politely and sometimes I appreciate the option as a win-win if I'm pressed for time but I've never had anyone react badly if I'd turned down their offer either (maybe I have plenty of time to catch my flight and I'm feeling lazy and don't want to walk :-P )
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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