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Starting Tuesday, Uber drivers in Los Angeles and Atlanta will have better control over their earning opportunities.

Uber launched its redesigned app on April 10, which adds or enhances a number of key features within the app, including:

  • A real-time “Earnings Tracker” shows drivers how much they earned on their last trip, and tracks progress toward their earnings goals. Drivers concerned about passengers seeing these statistics have the option of keeping this tracker hidden.
  • The status bar displays real-time updates on customer demand in the area, showing opportunities for more trips nearby. When a driver taps on an opportunity, the app provides optional navigation to the area.
  • Notifications show upcoming earning opportunities, feedback from past riders, and information about the driver’s account.
  • Drivers can showcase themselves through an enhanced driver profile, allowing riders to learn more about their driver and find new ways to connect.
  • Drivers can also see the distance left to travel to a passenger’s destination — up until this point, the app only displayed a countdown to the estimated arrival time.
  • One-tap responses allow a driver to quickly notify a rider when “stuck in traffic”, for example.
  • With Offline Mode, Uber records the driver’s location via GPS when the vehicle is in an area with poor connectivity, and updates the passenger’s fare as soon as the app is back online.

According to the company, these features address multiple points of feedback submitted by current drivers.

“We knew we couldn’t take the approach we’d taken in the past: redesign the app based on what we thought drivers wanted, launch it, then hope for the best. Instead, we needed to listen to what drivers told us they needed, and shape the new app alongside them,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement published on the Uber website.

Uber relied on 470 drivers across seven cities worldwide to help beta-test the first iteration of the app, incorporating their feedback into the redesign process. And today, Uber is piloting the new driver app in a handful of cities abroad as well as in Los Angeles and Atlanta, keeping a close eye on any potential ripple effects that may arise in the rideshare marketplace as a result of the new features.

One such potential impact could be that drivers utilizing the new app would congregate near regions with the most lucrative earning potential, leading to a shortage of drivers in less popular area and resulting in longer wait times for passengers. The next phase of Uber’s marketplace test will deploy the updated driver’s app across the board in a select number of cities, and observe the data from those markets.

“We’ll see if [the new features] produce unideal behaviors [such as driver shortage], and compare it against sister cities,” said Uber Driver Experience group manager Yuhki Yamashita. “We’re taking it slow to understand all the sorts of side effects.”

The updated driver app is just one part of Uber’s 180 Days of Change, a recent initiative to right the company’s past wrongdoings, which include a series of scandals that resulted in an investigation by the Department of Justice, and forced previous CEO Travis Kalanick to step down.

Featured photo by @Vruln via Twenty20

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