Uber has a new feature so you can feel more like a big deal from the Before Times when really you’re just using the same old ride-sharing app.
Starting Tuesday, Uber Hourly is a new option when booking a ride. That means you can book a driver for an hour for $50 and take as many stops as necessary while going about errands or whatever else you need to get done mid-pandemic.
It’s rolling out Monday in 12 U.S. cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tacoma, and Seattle. Eventually more cities will have the hourly option. Already Hourly launched in cities in Australia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
A driver will wait for you nearby at each stop, and you can book a driver for up to seven hours (the $50 hourly rate doesn’t drop even with more hours booked, unfortunately). There are some restrictions, like you can’t make your final stop the airport.
There’s also a mileage limit for each hour, usually about 40 miles total. If you go over that you’ll have to pay a per mile rate for the overage. Same goes for trips that run over an hour or however long you booked. You book the driver as usual through the Uber app, but instead of selecting an UberX or Uber SUV trip, click Hourly and then go through the prompts to choose how many hours you need and other trip information, like stops you want to make. You can always change or add stops during the ride.
“When you need to run errands, head to a doctor’s appointment, or grab groceries, Hourly fits around your schedule flexibly for those moments if and when you prefer extra time and added peace of mind,” Niraj Patel, director of rider operations, said in an email statement.
He also noted that the long bookings should help out drivers get gigs who have seen rides drop during the coronavirus outbreak. Zendrive data from the last 20 days of March compared to first 20 days of April found a 60 percent drop in ride-share trips in the U.S. May started to see those ride-share numbers go up, especially as more cities and states slowly reopen.
Just don’t forget your mask. It’s now required for any Uber ride, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour.