Finding your Uber at a crowded arrivals curb while several other passengers are doing the same can be daunting. To help alleviate that pain, Uber is piloting a PIN feature today at Portland International Airport in the hopes of cutting down on lengthy airport wait times and traffic congestion. Instead of wasting time hunting for their Uber, passengers can just hop in the first available car and share a six-digit code. If successful, Uber could expand the PIN feature to airports across the country.
Basically, Uber's PIN feature will work as follows. Instead of being assigned a specific car, passengers will wait in line at the Uber pickup zone and share their six-digit code with the first available Uber. Uber will then ask you to verify your driver's details before you get in the car. In theory, this eliminates the guesswork drivers must do in trying to find you amongst a crowd of other passengers.
If you've relied on Uber or another app-based car service for airport pickup in the past, you've probably had a mixed experience. Airport pickups are often a headache for passengers, drivers and airports alike, resulting in lengthy wait times, canceled rides and an increase of traffic congestion at the arrivals terminal. Some airports have even banned rideshare altogether, or designated special pickup zones.
Uber tested its PIN feature in Bangalore, India last year, as well as at over 60 high-volume events all over the world. While Uber hopes to roll out the PIN feature at more airports, the company acknowledged that not every airport is an ideal fit. "At some locations, it's far more efficient to retain existing pickup models due to capacity constraints and curb space availability," wrote Uber in a blog post. As for when we'll see it at other airports where it does make sense, Uber isn't saying yet.