Uber has introduced a new feature that allows passengers in London to book a ride up to 30 days in advance.
The introduction of the scheduled ride feature — being rolled out to Uber customers across the capital on Thursday — is a big move for the San Francisco firm and one that Uber expects to resonate particularly well with business customers.
Uber already allows passengers in a number of cities in the US to schedule rides but London is the first European city in Uber’s network to get the advanced booking feature, which was first trialled in Seattle in June.
Londoners will initially only be able to hail an UberX taxi, which is usually a Toyota Prius, although Uber could expand the scheduled ride offering to Uber Lux and Uber Exec in future, allowing passengers to ride in more expensive cars.
Prices for scheduled rides are the same as a normal UberX ride, an Uber spokesman told Business Insider, adding that fares will depend on the tariff rate that’s in operation at the time the car is dispatched. That means that if you book a ride for a busy time then you could end up paying 1.2x, 1.5x or 2.0x the standard fare.
After launching in London in 2012, Uber has arguably built a reputation as the go-to taxi service for anyone looking to hail a ride. But the latest move is a clear sign that Uber wants an even bigger slice of the pie.
Many people currently use rivals such as Addison Lee, Gett and other private mini cab companies to book rides in advance when they don’t want to rely on an Uber being available at the time they want to travel. Uber will hope that some of those people will be tempted over onto its platform as a result of the new feature.
Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, said in a statement:
“Londoners love being able to tap a button on their phone and a book a car that arrives in just a few minutes. But we know there are times when you just want Uber to take care of it. So instead of tapping a button a few minutes before you need your ride, you can now tell us hours or days in advance when you need a car and we’ll do it for you.
“Many of our riders, especially business customers, have asked us to introduce this feature and we’re really excited to bring it to Londoners from today. Whether it’s having a car ready at the end of a meeting or to take you to the airport, scheduling your Uber in advance means there’s one less thing to worry about.”
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