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List of tweaks Uber has made to its app to ward off competition

by Milicent Atieno

The taxi hailing business had become a lucrative business attracting numerous players. Currently, the market is saturated, and the existing players are entangled in a fierce battle, with each trying to eat into the other’s market share. Veterans like Uber have lost some grounds over the year, but are fiercely guarding their current market share.

Some of the tricks Uber has been using to maintain its market and ward off the rising competition include price cuts, which has seen its drivers go on strike and enlist to the competitor’s platform in their thousands. Another trick the company has been using is improving commuter’s experience while using the Uber mobile app.

The company has tweaked its app a couple of times in 2017 in a bid to improve UX, as a means of warding off competition. Yet again, the company has tweaked the app again, all in the name of getting you (the commuter) have an easier time calling a taxi on the Uber app that you won’t fathom using any other app. Is it enough, though?

Some of the new features Uber has rolled out on its app:

Share trip that allows both riders and drivers track the location of their family and friend en-route to their destination, as a measure of security.

In-app chat – which makes communication between the rider and driver easier and affordable. Quite convenient when you have called a taxi, but the driver is having a difficult time locating direction to your location to come pick you up.

Multiple stops – allows the rider to make a number of stops before reaching their desired final destination.

Driver authentication – Uber also baked in a real-time security check feature that runs each time the driver goes online. It serves to protect the driver’s account from fraudster as well as ensuring the security of the rider so they can be assured they are being driven around by the actual driver vetted by Uber.

Accept/Reject Long Trips – drivers now have the option of accepting or rejecting to pick up passengers who want to go for a long trip, but what qualifies to be called a long trip? Uber says, any journey taking more than 45 minutes qualifies to be called a long trip.

“We are giving drivers more information that helps make the decision that is right for them. While there are some drivers who aren’t in a position to accept a long trip, there are even more preferring the trips,” said Janet Kemboi, the spokesperson for Uber East Africa.

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