Uber launches redesigned driver app in two US cities — Atlanta is one

Uber is launching a redesigned driver app in two pilot cities, Atlanta and LA. The redesign is for Uber drivers, so riders likely won't see a big difference. The new app adds features including a real-time earnings tracker and notifications with rider feedback. Atlanta was chosen because its team could support it, according to Uber. Atlanta was also chosen for its high concentration of drivers with Android phones.

Uber has launched a redesigned driver app that’s being piloted Tuesday in two U.S. cities, including Atlanta.

A subset of Atlanta’s tens of thousands of drivers will test new features, such as a real-time earnings tracker, notifications with rider feedback and a status bar that suggests areas with better pickup opportunities.

The redesign applies to the driver app, so riders likely won’t notice a big difference. Unless, as is Uber’s hope, the changes improve the driver experience so much that customers have a smoother ride.

Atlanta was chosen as a launch site partially because the city’s team was willing to support it, according to members from Uber’s product crew in San Francisco. Atlanta has about 60 employees between two offices in the city.

One office houses the region’s Uber and Uber Eats operations and marketing teams; the other, called a “Greenlight Hub,” serves as a driver support center. Atlanta was also chosen for its high concentration of drivers who use Android phones, the platform the app is launching on first.

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The previous redesign was completed years ago by 30 engineers; the new one was developed by 300. The company took a new approach to this redesign by getting extensive feedback from drivers through a beta version before launching the new app.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who took the reigns from embattled co-founder Travis Kalanick last year, said the former redesign was already "showing its age."

“Drivers are the heart of our service. But along the way, we lost sight of that,” he said in a blog post about the new app. “We focused too much on growth and not enough on the people who made that growth possible. We called drivers ‘partners,’ but didn’t always act like it.”

In addition to Atlanta, the new app launched in Los Angeles. It will also be rolled out gradually in Mexico, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Egypt, Costa Rica and Colombia.

The new app follows a series of added features introduced last year as part of Uber's 180 Days of Change initiative.

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