Seeing as this site has a mixture of both drivers and riders, in addition to Uber Confessions, we’ll also give you updates on Uber or rideshare in general. If you’re a rider and aren’t interested, feel free to skip this post. If you are interested in learning how to drive for Uber, read my guide here
Like many of you, my biggest question about the Uber conference today was whether or not they would discuss rates and things like that. The short answer: No. The entire conference really just focused on the new app that they’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks. So for now, Express Pool is here to stay, as are really low rates for some smaller markets which makes people flood to heavier markets leaving a shortage of drivers in the small market.
I’m sure you are interested in what is going on in the app and don’t want to watch the entire video to find out, so I have you covered here! Let’s go through some of the new features!
Cleaner Boost Areas
As you can see from the image above, they cleaned up the boost map by zooming in! A pretty innovative feature that I don’t think many people were aware of. You can zoom in by pinching the screen and pulling your fingers apart! Wonderful!
Jokes aside, I don’t really see any changes here except for the color of the boost zone. They made it look less cluttered in the screenshot by zooming in but not a whole lot of change here.
What to do
The guy presenting the app features talked about this new one from his tiny experience driving. He said that he turned on the app and sat there waiting for 20 minutes without a ride request and wasn’t really sure if he was online or not. In order to counter this problem, they decided to…. highlight boost zones?
I didn’t know it was really difficult to see if you were offline or not. It seemed pretty clear to me, but then again I did sit offline for about an hour when I first started driving. Perhaps that has to do with the complete lack of training drivers receive and not a UI issue, but that’s a different topic.
The weird part about this was their apparent solution which made no sense to me. It was to show you nearby opportunities like boost zones. What happens if there is currently no boost (like 90% of each day)? Are you left sitting there with your thumb up your butt confused if you are online or not? I guess you’ll be forced to read the text that says “You’re online” just like the old days
New Surge Overlay
A big change to the app will be how they display surge zones now. Rather than have a big orange blob over the screen, they’ll have a harder to see orange gradient that appears under roads and landmarks. Cool? On the bright side, he did point out that surges will no longer appear over water, but if you scroll up and see the (no) changes to the boost area, there will still be water boosts!
Better Notification System
This is one change that I will give them credit for being a welcomed addition to the app. No longer will your main screen be full of dumb messages at the bottom as they will finally be moved to it’s own page that you can ignore … or check, I guess? Those notifications always seemed random to me so I never really looked at them, but perhaps if they’re actually useful, I’ll check that screen more often.
Auto Reply To Passengers
Currently on the app, when a passenger texts you with a message, you can give them a thumbs-up to let them know that you saw the message (I think. I’ve never used it). With the new app, they’re going to give us more options to reply with to prevent you from typing or calling the person. I added an option I’d like to see on the “Are you here?” question on the image above, but sadly I doubt that will be in the final version.
Here are some more auto-reply options I’d like to see:
- For the impatient passenger:
- “I’ll get there when I get there”
- “Just make sure you’re waiting outside because I’m not going to block traffic while you take your time”
- A default message for any passenger:
- “If you don’t have a car seat, I’ll likely keep driving and decline you”
- “Are you 18 or have someone over 18 with you? If not, decline now to save me gas”
- For the Express Pool passenger:
- “I’m at the location that Uber told me to go to”
- “No, I will not make a special trip to pick you up at your door”
- “I don’t care that it’s raining out. Cancel and order an UberX”
- “You’d better stop texting me and hurry up because I am going to cancel the second I hit the 2-minute mark and you’ll be out a cancellation fee”
- For any message that starts with “Can you….”
- “No” and add a ‘cancel trip’ button
Overall, this was a dud of an announcement, but I am looking forward to dealing with the many bugs the new app will feature on launch!