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Uber is rolling out a change in a few cities that might catch you off guard on your next ride: Your Uber driver can cancel your ride — or start the meter without you in the car — if you are just two minutes late to the pick-up point. Uber’s coining the phrase “Request When You’re Ready” for the new policy.

Per TechCrunch, this policy is first being tested in NYC, New Jersey, Phoenix and Dallas. Depending on the results, Uber may roll this policy out in all markets.

Watch out for this notification the next time you request a ride. Image courtesy of TechCrunch.
Watch out for this notification the next time you request a ride. Image courtesy of TechCrunch.

At first blush, this new two-minute policy may seem incredibly unfair to riders. After all, what if you live on a top floor or have to wait on a server to cash out? However, if you consider that the driver would previously be unpaid for this time waiting at the pick-up point, it isn’t entirely unreasonable to enable the driver to start the ride after a couple of minutes.

Plus, it’s not like starting the ride early is going to break the bank. A waiting UberX is going to cost you $0.35 per minute in NYC and just $0.10 per minute in Dallas.

Where this policy gets controversial is allowing the driver to cancel the ride after just a two-minute wait. Not only are you left without a ride, but also you’re hit with a $5 or $10 cancellation fee! Hopefully, Uber will eliminate this part of the policy and simply empower drivers to start the ride after a two-minute wait.

Some locations still have a 10-minute grace period.
Some locations still have a 10-minute grace period. Image courtesy of Uber’s driver FAQ.

While some cities have introduced this new two-minute grace period, other locations still instruct their drivers to allow a 10-minute grace period.

When I drove for Uber, I found this 10-minute grace period to be maddening. If I had already driven 15 minutes to get to the pick-up point and a rider maximized the grace period, I wouldn’t earn a cent for nearly half an hour.

That said, two minutes may be too rider-unfriendly for the policy to stick.

If you haven’t signed up for Uber yet, you can join here and get your first ride free (up to $20).

What do you think of the Uber’s new grace period policy?

H/T: TechCrunch

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