We’ve all had that rider who requests we turn off our radio, or increase the A/C or heat. Whether or not this minor quirk bugs you won’t matter for much longer. Uber has launched a new way for riders to control the details of their ride. They call it Uber Comfort.
The new service aims to bring some of the higher tier benefits of Uber Black and Uber SUV. They also plan to do this at a lower cost for the rider.
What are the Features of Uber Comfort?
Uber Comfort gives riders the ability to hail a mid-range, comfort-laden ride. Cars that qualify for this service are newer mid-size vehicles that feature more legroom and a “quiet-ride” mode. Riders can even request their preferred temperature in the car.
These features aren’t new for Uber riders but have only been limited to Uber Black and Uber SUV. Now, more drivers will be able to capitalize. From the early reports, riders are expecting to pay anywhere from 20% to 40% more for the ride. This means drivers could find a new watering hole.
Which Cars Qualify for the New Service?
According to the Uber rider app, there are a few cars that will be eligible to offer Uber Comfort rides. Toyota Camry, Dodge Durango, Audi SQ7, Chevy Tahoe, and Honda Odyssey are among the eligible vehicles. They may add more in the future. But for the time being, these are all that Uber has included in its press release.
The main factor for cars to qualify is for them to be five years old or younger. This would mean the current cut-off would be a 2014 model or newer.
Will Drivers Need to Meet a Specific Rating to Start Offering Uber Comfort?
Yes. Only drivers with a rating of 4.85 and higher can offer the service. This rating requirement shouldn’t be a major concern for drivers. In fact, initial reports seem to favor a slight increase in pay for drivers that are serious about their rideshare gig. However, this all hitches on whether or not many Uber riders are willing to pay the extra 20% to 40%.
Why Do I Think Uber Comfort Will Not Catch On?
Experience dictates that many potential early adopters of this ride mode are already enjoying some features offered by Uber Comfort through UberX.
If you’ve driven for any amount of time, you’ve gotten requests of changing the temperature of your vehicle or lowering the volume of your music. My personal experience is that these riders already demand these features from an UberX without having to pay extra for them. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who would opt for Uber Comfort.
Are There Additional Options for Uber Comfort
Other additional features include requesting assistance with luggage, getting top-notch support, and being picked up by top-tier drivers. Some of these features reported by the Uber Newsroom are quite vague. This could be a sticky situation for an UberX driver that accepts an Uber Comfort ride and is not aware of the expectations.
What to Expect as a Driver if You Accept an Uber Comfort?
First off, you will want to put on your professional pants. I have yet to receive a request for an Uber Comfort ride, but my first inclination is that we need to up our game. Why? The expectations of the rider will not be likely to match whatever you’re offering. As drivers, we need to be prepared for anything, in particular, picky passengers. Be ready to greet the rider professionally and stay silent for a long ride to the airport.
Will the Average Driver See an Uptick in Earnings?
The average driver doesn’t stand to make any more money than usual. So, it’ll be wise to continue your gigs or side hustles.
If you have the right vehicle and meet the required rating, you might see some benefits. Once these rides start coming in, I won’t be surprised to see an uptick in earnings. Even though I stated earlier that I don’t believe Uber Comfort will not shift the entire rideshare game, some drivers might be able to leverage a benefit — add to that having a tip jar or sign in your car, and you’re bound to earn more.
What Will Be the Key to Operating an Uber Comfort Ride?
The key to increasing your earnings with Uber Comfort is to treat your rideshare as a business and maintain a professional environment. Make sure your ride is clean, your personal hygiene is top-notch, and your attitude is welcoming.
Uber Comfort riders will have a much higher propensity to demand more from you. If a passenger is rude or feels demanding, do what you can to make them feel comfortable. Please remember, do not bend over backward to appease a rude rider. Give the rating that your passenger deserves — or when the situation calls for it, report them! This is the only way to defend yourself and other drivers from rider abuse, and keep our rideshare community safe.
I can see professionals who bill their company for Uber rides to be the first early adopters. Uber Comfort could be a mainstay in your rideshare gig if you can promote it to these everyday working professionals. Airport rides and drives between meetings in an urban setting could see a comfortable fare uptick!