Taxi aggregator Uber says it is testing a new algorithm in 24 U.S. cities that allows drivers to see fares and destinations before they agree to take a ride. According to the company, this measure will attract more taxi drivers.
Uber notes that the option is pilot, it will be the largest update to the driver payment algorithm in the past few years. Thus, the aggregator intends to return taxi drivers who left at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fares for passengers will not change.
Drivers have been asking for fare and destination displays for a long time, but Uber has been slow to introduce the option because it could lead to over-selection and discrimination against customers from disadvantaged areas.
The company launched a similar opportunity in California in 2020 after recognizing gig workers as independent contractors. However, the current situation is not bound by this regulation.
Uber declines to comment on the possible financial implications of the algorithm change. It is possible that the aggregator will incur higher costs for short trips. Uber's head of mobility in the US and Canada, Dennis Cinelli, says the company has not seen driver discrimination in California since the policy was introduced in 2020. He adds that Uber provides for the shutdown of taxi drivers who have repeatedly refused to ride due to race and social status.
The introduction of the option was ambiguously perceived by the drivers of the company. Some complained about the decline in income, but others said the opposite.
Cinelli notes that if the measure does not attract and retain drivers, then Uber will not continue to develop it.
In the middle of last month, Uber introduced a new feature for riders that lets them know their rating given to them by drivers. The company provided recommendations to improve its estimates.