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Popular ride-sharing app Uber is testing some new features that combine its various services into a single hub.
According to a press release, the company wants to become “an operating system for everyday life.” What that essentially means is that all its services, some of which have their own apps, will be accessible in one place.
Primarily, that’s a merging of Uber’s ride-sharing and Uber Eats’ food delivery services – though it also provides space for some of the company’s other projects, like electric bike and scooter hire, public transit integrations, and even VIP helicopter rides.
Most of the above are only available in a small number of locations currently, but the new app aims to provide a place for these things to live, if and when they expand around the globe.
Uber is also taking the opportunity to change a few things to improve the service and its safety, and it’s about time. Customers will now have to verify their ride by giving their driver a verbal PIN code, and the real-time ID check for drivers is being improved drastically.
The emergency call functions will also improve, giving riders quick access to 911 calls and pre-drafted emergency text requests including information on current location and the make and model of the car, to give emergency services the best chances of finding the car if anything bad happens.
Meanwhile, a new earnings estimator tool should help out drivers when planning how many shifts they need to work.
Uber has been regularly criticized over the years for various reasons – particularly in relation to customer safety – and these changes are a good first step to making things right. Hopefully, it’s a signal of intent to make genuine improvements in the near future.
If you’re an Uber user, you may see this app revamp before long, though it’s being A/B tested against a more conventional map-based design before the pictured layout is made permanent.