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Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber's more flexible driver policies promise fewer cancelled rides

Your driver is less likely to bail on you based on where you're going.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

If you've used Uber long enough, you've probably encountered drivers who've canceled trips simply because they weren't convenient. They didn't want to travel far or had an appointment to make, for instance. You might not have to put up with those surprise cancellations quite so often in the future, though. As part of its "180 days of change" initiative, Uber is providing drivers with more flexibility that promises to have a positive side effect for passengers -- you should get more drivers who actually want to ferry you from point A to point B.

Most notably, declining trips won't hurt a driver's account standing or chance at promotions. Drivers shouldn't be as tempted to accept a trip they can't take and promptly cancel it. They'll also get notifications whenever a trip is expected to take 45 minutes or longer, so you shouldn't see your driver cancel just because you need a ride to the airport across the city. Uber workers can also set arrival times for their ultimate destinations, so they won't be asked to take rides that would lead to missed appointments, and they now have up to six destinations per day instead of a mere two. Also, they're not stuck offering services they don't like or aren't making much money, since they can easily switch to UberEats or decline to offer services like UberPool.

This is the third big change to Uber's policies since the "180 days" effort began (tipping being the first move), and it reflects the company's determination to improve its image since the ouster of CEO Travis Kalanick. It's not just for the sake of appearances, though. Lyft has been growing quickly in part because of its reputation as the friendlier alternative to Uber, both for customers and drivers. If there weren't changes, Lyft might have plenty of opportunities to lure people disaffected by Uber's seemingly singular obsession with its bottom line.

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