Uber’s latest feature for its drivers lets them potentially make money while driving to a destination they would be anyway.
Uber drivers in the Bay Area will be able to input their destination and receive ride requests from passengers nearby who are headed in the same direction, according to a blog post. Destinations can be in San Francisco or to nearby cities like San Jose, or Marin, and applies to the company’s UberBlack, UberX, UberPool, and UberSelect services.
Drivers can only use the feature twice per day, but that could still be beneficial if they use it for their commute to and from work, for example, if they have another job, or if they’re running an errand to a popular location. “It’s a great way to earn that last fare of the day heading toward home,” writes Uber senior product manager Maya Choksi about the feature.
Uber isn’t the first to come up with this idea. Sidecar, which recently gave up the fight and shifted its business model to providing a delivery service for other companies, first introduced the feature in 2013. In November of 2014, ride-hailing rival Lyft introduced “driver destinations” to let its own drivers do the same.
Though the feature is likely aimed at Uber’s part-time drivers who will probably enjoy making a few extra bucks while going about their own lives, it could also help some of those who drive full-time. While San Francisco proper has a large amount of available drivers most of the time, many of them actually come in from nearby cities to get a slice of San Francisco’s hungry appetite for ride-hailing services. Monetizing at least part of their commute into and out of the city, for which they normally pay themselves, could be of big help.
The new feature also follows Uber’s recent efforts around carpooling and making car trips as efficient as possible. After debuting its carpooling service, UberPool, in the summer of 2014, Uber has been experimenting with a feature similar to bus routes, as well as carpooling expressly for commuters.