Last week, Uber launched their revamped app at an event hosted at the Nailab by the Bloggers Association of Kenya. The new app went live in November last year and already has seen 68% uptake in the country. It promises smoother operations and an all round easier user experience for riders. It comes packed with awesome features and these are the ones I like the most.

Trip Swap

I found this feature very interesting. If you hail an Uber and it is coming from a bit far, and another Uber frees up closer to you, you can switch and pick the one closer to you. I love the fact that Uber gives users flexibility in this regard, and saves them time. Something I find somewhat related and which I like is the fact that you can now change direction mid-trip.

Up-front pricing

With the new app, requesting a ride will start with the question ‘where to”. As such, Uber will already know your destination at the time of request and will be able to show you the cost of your ride before you make the final decision to request. No nasty surprises at the end of a trip! I’m not sure how that will work with traffic prone areas but I’m here to learn. Kudos Uber for even more flexibility.

Minding the environment

Uber’s working is towards the world having less cars on the roads by moving more people in fewer cars. This is something we badly need as a city.  Already there is an increase in people sharing rides and splitting fares if they’re going to the same direction and this market is more than ready for Uberpool. Nairobi is choking in traffic and the attendant pollution and the city is taking up around 30% of its space for parking and car storage. These cars then sit idle 96% of the time which people spend in offices. Private car ownership is costly for businesses, people’s health and ultimately for the environment. I love Uber’s effort towards offering solutions to curb this.

Driver notifications

It is easy to see why drivers would binge drive. To take more trips and hence more money. But Uber app has everyone’s safety in mind and the new app will alert the driver when he/she has been on the road too long. This is a win for the driver in terms of their health, and safety for him/her and passengers and all road users in terms of safety. The decision to leave the road however ultimately lies with the driver. But this notification is a step in the right direction all the same.

Compliment the driver

I’ve so far been lucky with Uber and have never come across a nasty ride. I’m therefore used to just giving them a good star rating almost by default. I like that with the new app, there is a feature to actually go further and let the driver know what you really liked. This may look trivial but hey! You get to make someone’s day and unknowingly encourage them to do a better job.

There are other features, some of which are mentioned here. We’ll do another article as we get to interact with the new app further.

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