Can using Uber in India be less dreadful? –

Usability problems that make me pull my hair out — making payment leaves a lot to be desired.

In India, Olacabs and Uber are the major players in ride hailing services. While I do prefer Uber for its better location tracking, making payment leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Uber does not allow to book more than one cab at a time. This is a real need — especially when families or relatives come visiting and need a ride back home. Also many parents rely on their kids to book cabs for them. My friend lives in Bangalore and books cabs for his mother in Delhi; nope I did not make that up. A lot of old folks are not tech savvy and need help in moving around the city.

Suggestion: Allow multiple bookings at the same time. Ola does this already.

  • In India, two factor authentication is needed to release payment for credit cards. Once the ride is over, Uber prompts to rate the driver but does not let me make the payment. Instead I need to wait till I make my next booking and then pay. This can be annoying:

When I am in a hurry to get a cab, every second of delay counts.

If I do not book a cab in a week’s time, the grace time to make the payment expires and I get a mail saying I have been a bad boy.

Image credit: GIPHY
You want my money? Then make it easy for me to pay you.

As a workaround once the trip is over, I try to make a booking. When prompted for previous trip’s payment, I authenticate it and then cancel the booking.

Suggestion: Allow to make payment once trip ends while rating the driver.

Image credit: GIPHY
  • The problem worsens when there is a dispute. At times, some drivers mark a trip as completed even before arriving at my location! I cannot book a new cab without paying for a service I did not use. With a heavy bag on one shoulder and a train to catch I am in no mood to navigate the byzantine Uber support section.

Suggestion: When there are payment disputes, allow users to book next trip without having to complete payment. Habitual offenders who try to game the system cannot get away with more than one trip and can be identified based on past history.

Even after raising an issue about the trip, I am still not allowed to book a new cab without completing payment. So dear Uber, don’t blame me for cheating on you with Ola. It is not me, it’s totally you.

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I hope the personas that Uber use are in tune with the geography of the place. Uber is not just for the slick executive flitting across skyscrapers or the pub-hoppers. It is for people who arrive early morning in a city and groggily search for cabs. Carrying heavy bags, fending pushy auto drivers and preventing your kids from running on the road is cumbersome enough, why make it more tough?

I sincerely hope the Uber Design team will iron out the creases soon 🙂

Author: Sridhar Rajendran

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