Before the month of September, driving around as an UberX driver was scary because there was no way to turn the lowest tier of Uber pax earnings, UberPOOL, off. I and many others, dreaded the UberPOOL ping and, if you didn't care, declined every UberPOOL possible because you earned less and it was more of a hassle. The only time UberPOOL made sense is if you were going towards a nightly or weekly passenger quest or promotion. Not anymore! Here are the 8 things that Uber has introduced to make UberPOOL a lot more seamless and more desirable for drivers.
September 2017: Pool
The Pool pickup fare isn't much of a change / addon because it adds an extra fare (very minimal) based on the number of Pool pickups you complete. If you are doing Pool all night and are able to string along several pickups, this could make a difference, but for most of us drivers, its just something that was added to beef up their press release.
Verdict: So what is it you say you did here?
Unlike the first feature of September's roll-out, the addition of educating some riders is greatly appreciated. Most people who use Uber on a regular basis get the gist of what they are supposed to do to get picked up and how they can help streamline the process (be at an easily accessible location and be ready to be picked up), but for those who are using UberPOOL for the first time, it is always a very awkward conversation when you get pinged for another pickup and they don't understand and start to get irritated. This new education feature basically goes over the basics of UberPOOL; where to get picked up, wait time, what to expect. Hopefully this cuts down on confusion and makes for happier riders ie. more tips!
Verdict: less awkwardness
One of the best new features of the 180 days of change has to be the automatic reminder for riders to get to the pickup location 2 minutes before you arrive. Remember when you had to tap you screen to let riders know you have arrived and then they would finally come down with the typical "sorry for making you wait"? No longer!
Verdict: Get to the curb!
With everything discussed previously in this review of UberPOOL, it is quite obvious that the main issue between pax and Uber Drivers is communication. If every passenger was made aware of what to do and not to do when Ubering, there would be a lot less single star ratings given. With this new feature of feedback for Pool riders, the communication gap is being bridge, which should make for better service all around. This new feature allows the drivers to rate a customer 4-stars and list why they didn't get a perfect 5-star rating. This reasoning is then conveyed to the rider in the Uber app, suggesting them to be more ready or to inform them they cannot have a different route than what was chosen when the called for an UberPOOL. Now I haven't personally had any riders that I've had to rate other than a 5-star since this update, but I am sure this will apply to UberX and others in the coming future
Verdict: Constructive criticism goes a long way
As I have mentioned before, I have not had too many UberPOOL rides that have been more than one pickup, so I haven't had the "privilege" to experience the crazy routes that UberPOOL used to take people on, but hopefully this new feature of straighter routes is an improvement. I have read message boards and have heard other stories from drivers that have had the weirdest routes to drop off pax that do not correlate with any common sense, which often makes the pax unhappy, leading to lower ratings and no tips.
Verdict: no more basket weaving
This might sound like I'm repeating myself with all of these new features for UberPOOL, but the money is in the details, so keep paying attention! The suggested pickup feature is one that, again, helps UberPOOL riders get into your car faster and make pickups easier and safer. Instead of doubling around the block or personally asking the pax to go to a different location for pickup, Uber does it for us. While this still doesn't take into consideration those pax that do not know how to input the correct pickup location, it does help to make sure you pickup and drop off faster without having to go out of your way for a half a block convenience.
Verdict: make that money on the corner!
One of the worst things ever is having a pax down rate you over things that were out of your control because they were cheap and chose to UberPOOL. It is to be expected that while choosing to take an UberPOOL over a decent distance (more than a couple of miles), that you will have someone else riding with you. I have heard stories of pax complaining over the smallest things and down rating drivers because of the pax not understanding the expectations of what UberPOOL entails. This feature should help drivers who do UberPOOL often keep their rating higher.
Verdict: Body armor engaged
The new feature of rating everyone at the end of the POOL ride is welcomed, mostly for the awkward fact that you don't have to explain to passengers who are still in the car why you didn't rate someone 5-stars (its happened before!). The only downside I can see of this is trying to remember someone's name that you wanted to down rate but couldn't because you had 4 other drop offs after.
*** As always, all of the views expressed in this piece are the views of the author. No one has been paid or compensated for this piece, nor do they expect to ***