On Saturday, my boyfriend and I got into an UberPool hoping for the off chance that we don’t get paired with anyone on the short ride between Brooklyn neighborhoods. As suspected, no such luck. Worse, the person we were matched with used a pickup address that was about 400 feet away from where she was actually standing, and brought another person to the carpool when she only requested one seat. This forced our driver to figure out how to add a second rider to her party, then cancel on the third person he was assigned to pick up. All-in-all, I was about 10 minutes behind schedule, but I can only imagine how annoyed the third guy must have been after counting on the ride to show up.
While Uber can’t enforce proper carpooling etiquettes, a new update may help minimize the possibility of being delayed by a late carpooler. Uber will soon send push notifications that guide you to getting ready to be picked up, from “be ready soon” to “leaving shortly.”
On the driver side, the app can start a timer when they arrive to the pickup location which counts down the two minutes riders have to get into the car before drivers are allowed to ditch. If you don’t show up in time, drivers can take off and collect a no-show fee. The update is a stricter enforcement on UberPool’s courtesy suggestion for riders to show up for their carpool within one minute of the driver’s arrival.
To better route your ride, Uber also said it will pair you with a different carpooler if it finds a more convenient match even after you’ve been paired. To do so, it may hold off matching you immediately if it thinks it can find someone better suited for your route based on historical trip data. Whether this ends up creating a longer wait time overall remains to be seen.
While this is all designed to help save everyone time, I’m still waiting for Uber to allow me to rate my carpool mates. Because god knows being delayed is definitely not the worst part of using UberPool.