Ride sharing giant Uber has emphasised its diversification and desire to play nice with the broader market in a major new version of its app.
Somewhat ambitiously positioned as ‘an operating system for everyday life’, the new app elevates Uber Eats to have equal billing with the Rides service. Uber Eats offers a takeaway service for places that don’t do such a thing themselves, such as most fast food providers. It’s the other main way freelance drivers can earn money through Uber.
On top of that there’s fairly significant new security feature called Verify Your Ride, which provides the passenger with a special number, that the driver needs to input before the journey can begin. This seems to be designed to address concerns about rogue drivers masquerading as Uber ones and the obvious security risk that poses.
The other major change is the addition of a bunch of non-Uber travel information, such as public transport, to search results. This counterintuitive move has presumably been made to placate regulators and anyone else hostile to the Uber business model, by indicating Uber’s willingness to play nice with broader society and not abuse its dominant position in the ad hoc transport sector.
“We recognize that becoming an integral part of people’s lives comes with real responsibility,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in the associated announcement. “That’s why we are working to make sure every customer is treated like a VIP, every driver and courier feels like a valued partner, and every city feels like we’re a good citizen. With that in mind, today we also announced a number of innovative features and new partnerships.”
Right now you can be treated like a VIP for just $25 per month through Ride Pass, which offers discounts. That is now being extended to Eats in the form of Uber Pass, which also grants ‘free’ deliveries. There’s also Uber Rewards, which rewards you with little treats if you use Uber enough. Uber is looking to diversify on the back of its strong position, while at the same time taking measures to mitigate that dominance, which is sensible.