Uber is rolling out some new features aimed at making the pickup process simpler and more efficient. First, while the company began offering advanced booking in 2016, it’s now going to start guaranteeing your pickup time. If your driver doesn’t arrive within the time period you selected for the ride, Uber will give you credit towards your next ride.
Uber is also tweaking its in-app messaging feature. The company launched the chat feature last year, giving passengers a way to communicate with their driver without having to text them directly. Messages are read aloud to drivers so as not to distract them while they’re on the road. Now, riders and drivers will have the option of sending pre-written, standard messages with just a tap.
Lastly, Uber is giving riders a way to better flag down their driver. The feature is called Spotlight and with it, riders can have their phone screen turn a color that’s specific to their driver. They can then just hold up the phone so that their driver can more easily spot them at the pickup spot. The feature is similar to Beacon — a light attached to the driver’s windshield that emits a color specified by the rider. Uber Senior Product Manager Ryan Yu told TechCrunch that Spotlight is meant to supplement Beacon and will only be available to riders when a driver doesn’t have a Beacon light.
Uber says more updates are on the way later this year.