The new Scheduled Rides feature goes live for business account holders at 4PM today, letting them book a car from 15 minutes to 30 days in advance -- and within two weeks, the rest of the capital's Uber users will have access to the feature too. The ability to book ahead isn't exactly a game-changer. All of Uber's main competitors, including Hailo, Gett, Kabbee and Karhoo, already offer this convenience. For Uber, though, it's a pretty big expansion for what was previously just an instant ride-hailing service.
London is the first city in Europe to receive the new feature, and it's actually the first major rollout aside from a limited trial among business users in the US. You may remember Transport for London was thinking about forcing Uber to add pre-booking as part of updated private hire regulations. As it turned out, that proposal didn't make the final cut. Uber isn't happy about some that did, though, such a new English language requirement, and just last week it launched legal action against the transport authority as a result.