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Uber to give users a $50 credit if their scheduled rides don’t show up

November 10, 2020, 1:30 PM UTC

Uber customers whose scheduled rides are late will get a consolation prize: a $50 credit. 

The sweetener is part of Uber Reserve, the latest evolution of Uber’s scheduled ride program. It lets passengers arrange a ride up to a month in advance, with an on-time guarantee.

“What we wanted to do was make a statement that says…we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is,” said Geoff Tam-Scott, Uber product manager. “We wanted the amount to be noteworthy. We wanted people to say, ‘Hey, this is pretty serious.’”

Uber Reserve is available for Uber’s luxury vehicle service, Uber Black and Uber Black SUV, in 21 U.S. cities, including Dallas, New York City, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. It costs on average $8 to $12 per reservation, depending on the location.

Later this year, Uber plans to expand the program to its core Uber X ride-hailing service, in addition to its economy SUV service, Uber XL, and the roomier-ride option, Uber Comfort. More cities may also be added.

Customers who schedule a ride now get a 15-minute grace period to meet their ride. But if drivers are even a minute late, passengers get a credit in their Uber account that they can spend on future rides.

The overhauled reservation system comes as Uber struggles to attract customers back to its ride-hailing service. It also debuts as people are hesitant to take mass transit because of fears of catching the virus on overcrowded buses and trains. 

While Uber Reserve aims to help riders plan ahead, it also could cost them if they fail to cancel their rides early enough. Any cancellations must be made an hour before a scheduled ride, or customers will be charged the full fare.

Tam-Scott said the new scheduled-ride feature was already being developed when the coronavirus hit and that its release was then accelerated.

“It turns out there’s a very big need for this,” Tam-Scott said.