Imagine buying an airline ticket without knowing the full fare until the end of your trip. Or booking a hotel room online and being told that the real price would be 1.3X. Yes, that sounds odd—but it’s what happens with many Uber trips today.
Uber moved to upfront, per trip fares—just like airlines and hotels—two years ago when they launched uberPOOL. Riders needed to enter their destinations so they could match them with other people headed the same way. This allowed them to calculate the actual fare in advance and show it to riders before they booked their ride.
Knowing how much a ride will cost in advance is clearly something riders appreciate: today uberPOOL accounts for over 20 percent of all rides globally. And Uber now want more riders globally to benefit from this feature.
So in April they began slowly introducing upfront fares for regular uberX trips in cities across the US and more recently in India, with more to follow. To date, hundreds of thousands of riders have experienced upfront fares as part of this rollout.
Upfront fares are calculated using the expected time and distance of the trip and local traffic, as well as how many riders and nearby drivers are using Uber at that moment. And when fares go up due to increased demand, instead of surge lightning bolts and pop-up screens, riders are given the actual fare before they request their ride. There’s no complicated math and no surprises: passengers can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
By Arundhati Singh & Dennis Zhao, product managers
Also published on Medium.