Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER) has rolled out a new feature, Uber Reserve, that allows customers to book rides 30 days in advance. Interestingly riders can pick a favorite driver for the trip as the company seeks to add innovative ways of attracting customers during the pandemic.

Uber Reserve enables users to schedule rides

However, this is not a new feature entirely in some respects because the company has been allowing riders to schedule rides since 2016. The new feature will allow users to book a ride at least two hours ahead, and the ride-hailing company said that it would maintain the “schedule a ride” alternative for users whose trips are under the two hours advance timeline. Uber has added a service fee to entice drivers to accept the advance bookings.

Booking a ride ahead of time has been an exclusive realm for-hire car services such as limo and black car companies. Uber previously said that such features weren’t necessary when a ride can summon a car to their front porch in minutes. However, the concern has been that instead of responding immediately to ride requests, drivers often waste time circling around the block waiting for a scheduled customer.

Riders can pick favorite drivers

Uber’s operations head, Holley Beasley, said that while saving time lies at the heart of the company’s service, they wanted to take the idea to the next level. This is through mobility features offering more flexibility around the lives of customers. With the new feature, customers see their fare upfront, and the company matches up with a driver ahead of the trip.

An additional “favourite driver” option allows riders to add favorite drivers to the app. Once they pick the Reserve feature, riders have the alternative of selecting one of their favorite drivers. The company will offer favorite drivers to riders first, but drivers can opt not to take the trip without a penalty. Uber said that riders would get $50 Uber Cash if drivers are late on a scheduled ride.