Uber is now beta testing a feature that allows users to wait longer for their ride in exchange for a lower charge. If successful, it could allow the company to have more control over the demand for their product.
One Uber employee discovered this new feature when ordering a ride and tweeted about it, as first reported by Quartz. The Uber app said that his ride would be cheaper if he waited 4 minutes longer to order.
For now, the feature is only available to San Francisco and Los Angeles Uber employees, an Uber spokeswoman told Quartz. Uber did not comment on how long a rider could be asked to wait with this feature or for what discount.
Uber already practices dynamic pricing, in which charges for each ride vary by time. How it determines those fares used to be more transparent, but now the company lets users know what they’ll pay for the ride upfront. Uber says this “upfront pricing” model reflects real-time fluctuations in rider demand, driver availability, and other things, like traffic.
Uber has also increased ride price in several U.S. markets due to rising gas prices and driver dissatisfaction. In a move to avoid losing customers due to the hike in prices, the ride-hailing giant is working on cheaper options.
“A very, very important push for us is to innovate to lower cost,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.
Express Pool is a ride-share option that asks users to walk to a nearby location to be picked up with others. Khosrowshahi said that the company has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their Pool services.