Uber today launched support for users to split, or otherwise divide, the fares for its black car and taxi services.
It’s a surprisingly important feature. Uber’s black car service is too expensive for most people, meaning its taxi service may be what makes or breaks the company. But as a taxi service, Uber’s only advantage over traditional methods is that it makes the experience better for the user. The user can see how long it will take the cab to arrive and can watch it approach on the map. And when the ride is over, the user just hops out and lets Uber take care of payment and tip.
The convenience is substantially diminished if the user still has to impose half of the Uber charge on another friend.
With today’s addition, the user who calls the cab can simply tap on the “expand” arrow near the driver’s name once a cab has been assigned and then select which friends to share the fare with. The user can select friends from their phone’s contact list or by entering in their mobile phone number. All fare-splitting parties must have active Uber accounts, meaning the feature also works as a viral marketing strategy.