Uber to debut ‘Hourly’ service in Miami, Orlando, Tampa

Riders can book drivers for time blocks in advance, but face limits on mileage.

Uber users in three Florida markets will soon have the ability to book Uber drivers by the hour.

The ride-share giant announced its “Hourly” service, which will become available by June 2 to all riders in 12 U.S. cities, including Miami, Orlando and Tampa.

“Building on a global pilot, we’re launching Hourly to provide riders a more convenient way to get things done, and to provide an additional earnings opportunity for drivers as we move forward in this ‘new normal,’” said Niraj Patel, Uber’s director of Rider Operations.

“When you need to run errands, head to a doctor’s appointment, or grab groceries, Hourly fits around your schedule flexibly for those moments if and when you prefer extra time and added peace of mind.”

The service serves as an alternative to booking a sequence of one-way trips with different drivers over a short period.

Time can be scheduled in blocks in advance. Uber executives say this should offer a more guaranteed income to drivers themselves, who now can lock in time upfront rather than waiting for spontaneous alerts during periods when they make themselves available.

Riders won’t be able to book trips that go out of the test markets, and they can’t use Hourly service for trips to or from airports.

But using the Uber app, riders can schedule a driver’s first stop and up to three other stops in advance, all of which can change during the time a driver is booked.

If Hourly is used, trips must be booked with $50 for one hour or $100 for two hours, meaning they can’t schedule fractions of hours at lower rates. Even if riders end up needing less time than expected, they will be expected to pay for the full time booked.

Should rides exceed the allotted time, riders will get charged by the minute for overage time.

There will be limits on mileage that can be used in time frames, differing from market to market. Uber said some cities would have a limit of 40 miles drivers can travel in an hour when booked for Hourly service.

Riders and drivers are asked to communicate further details of trips through the Uber app.

Uber, in the past year, debuted several new services in Florida, including booking by phone and a partnership with the state to offer free rides for domestic violence victims who need to escape a dangerous situation.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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