Uber, Lyft Release New App Updates to Win You Over
Ride-hailing rivals Uber and Lyft are adding new features in an effort to woo customers.
Let’s start with Uber. The embattled tech giant announced today that it would allow customers to order a ride for someone else. In other words, when a user opens the app, it would allow him to select a friend from his contact list, request a ride to the passenger’s final destination, and pay for the trip. This feature begins rolling out in the U.S. starting today.
Just last week, Uber made more changes to its platform as part of a company-wide campaign called 180 Days of Change. In an effort to improve the driving experience, Uber launched a long-awaited in-app tipping function in three cities so far: Houston, Minneapolis, and Seattle. It will be available to all U.S. drivers by the end of July.
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Meanwhile Lyft—Uber’s biggest competitor—has also been rolling out new app improvements in the last few weeks. Today, Lyft releases some updates to its platform meant to save time for both drivers and passengers.
The service will now direct users to more convenient pickup locations. It’s designed to speed up the pick-up process by suggesting a location that would help the driver avoid one-way streets, construction, or other inconveniences that could slow down the trip. Lyft will display the amount of time saved if a user agrees to walk to the nearest pick-up location.
Uber, which has been embroiled in a number of scandals in the last few months, is feeling the pressure from its competitor. The company reportedly lost users and market share to Lyft while it was busy dealing with a succession of problems. As Fortune’s Erin Griffith put it, it’s a great time for Lyft to pounce, but “you can’t go public with the message of, ‘Our more successful competitor is melting down.’”