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Uber’s initial public offering occurred last week and was one of the largest IPOs in the last 10 years. While all the focus has been on billion dollar valuations and the future of the company, Uber is still introducing out new features that will affect everyday riders, including a set of big changes to the ride-hailing company’s premium offering, UberBlack, that it’s rolling out today.
In March, Uber announced a set of improvements to UberBlack that increased the quality of the drivers on the platform and more flexible pickups. Today, Uber is relaunching UberBlack (the company actually started exclusively as a black car hailing app) with even more features and introducing the previously mentioned improvements in new areas.
Riders will now have more control over their ride with the ability to enter ride preferences into the app before pickup. This includes if you’d like to talk to your driver or keep conversation to a minimum, what temperature you’d prefer and if you’ll have any luggage that you’ll need to be placed into the car.
Those who order a black car will also get access to Uber’s premium support line which provides access to “premium support agents” who will provide “enhanced support” in case anything goes wrong. This is likely the same support line those with Uber Gold status have.
Uber’s unveiled more specifics from its March announcement — only drivers with a rating of 4.85 stars or higher will now be able to drive on the UberBlack platform. When ordering a Black car you’ll also have extra time to get to your vehicle before the driver can cancel the ride — 15 minutes instead of the normal five. However, drivers will start the meter after waiting five minutes.
Uber also mentions that it’s implementing new vehicle requirements, and that cars must be “stylish later-model vehicles with extra legroom.” However, the company didn’t share anymore specifics on what exactly that will mean.
The ride-hailing giant says it’s rolling out minimum driver ratings and vehicle eligibility in phases to give time for drivers to adjust to the new requirements.
If you’re even a semi-frequent Uber user, make sure to check out our guide to Uber Rewards, the company’s loyalty program, which provides elite status benefits and points earning. If you’re looking to save even more on your Uber rides, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to $200 in annual Uber credits. Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Premier Card offer solid returns on ride-hailing purchases, each earn 3 points per dollar spent on Uber.
Featured image courtesy of Uber.
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