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Uber changes mean drivers can choose destinations and take bathroom breaks

Against the backdrop of coast-to-coast class action lawsuits by Uber drivers suing for employee status, the company has just released a half dozen driver-friendly app features. Uber described the six new features in Behind the Wheel, a new blog specifically for Uber drivers.

The Driver Destinations app feature may be the most advantageous for drivers. With that feature activated, a driver enters a destination and is only alerted to ride requests en route. This could work well for drivers who know where to find the best fares and want to restrict their availability to a specific route. Part-time drivers with a daily commute might find they can make some money on the way to and from work.

With Pause Requests an Uber driver can literally put the service on hold. Whether for a bathroom break, lining up for gas at a busy station, or just taking a few minutes off, a driver “on pause” won’t be called for rides, and won’t lose points for not taking them.

The Rider Late Fee program, like the others in this announcement, has been tested in some cities already. With this feature, if a passenger is more than two minutes late for a ride pickup, the driver can assess a late fee. The hope isn’t that drivers will make money from late fees, but that riders will be better about showing up on time.

Instant Pay is a program Uber is setting up for drivers with a GoBank Uber Debit Card. With that card drivers can control when they get paid, with no fee attached.

Uber Greenlight Location is a new name for physical locations for driver assistance. Previously they were called Partner Support Centers. There are now more than 250 Uber Greenlight Locations worldwide.

The Uber driver Ride Discount program is a pilot being launched in just a few cities. Uber said that one fourth of all Uber drivers are also Uber passengers at times. Uber drivers will get a 15-percent discount for an Uber X ride for every 10 trips they make in a week and 50 percent off an Uber Black ride for every 20 trips in a week.

Addressing drivers, Uber says in the blog itself that Behind the Wheel, “will be your one-stop for news that affects you and information on driver products and perks.”

While none of the new features do anything about the employee/contractor dispute between Uber drivers and the company, they add some convenience to being an Uber driver. The Driver Destinations feature, in particular, looks like it could help drivers make money.

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