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Uber debuts Trip Tracker so you can view a family member’s ride in real-time

TechCrunch TechCrunch 17/05/2016 Sarah Perez

Uber today announced a new tool that will allow family members and other loved ones the ability to track each others’ trips using its service. Called simply “Trip Tracker,” the addition is a feature connected to Uber’s Family Profiles, a program Uber announced in March which allows customers to pay for rides for their family and friends.

With Family Profiles, users can add other Uber riders to a group and can then bill all the group members’ trips to the same payment card.

Technically speaking, you can add anyone you choose to a Family Profile. However, as its name implies, it’s really meant to be used among those who are a part of a small, trusted group. For example, a parent may pay for rides for their kid in college. They could offer rides to another member of an extended family who was financially struggling, or to one who was unable to get around on their own, like an aging parent.

With Trip Tracker, those in charge of their Family Profile will now receive details about the trip being taken.

With the launch of this feature, whenever someone takes a ride under your Family Profile, you’ll be provided with automatic notifications and you’ll be able to watch the trip in progress on the map. You’ll be able to see when the family member left, the route they took, and when they arrived, Uber explains.

This information is available already in Uber’s emailed receipts, but Trip Tracker brings it to you in real-time as trips are happening live.

The feature will certainly be helpful for parents whose college kids are riding Ubers, or for those with elderly parents they’re worried about, for example. And it will help you figure out when your spouse will be home, saving you the text or phone call.

As before, trips are automatically billed to the payment card you have on file with your Family Profile.

Family Profiles initially launched in a handful of markets, including Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix, before rolling out more broadly. They’re now a fairly popular feature, says Uber, telling us that profiles have been created in over 60 countries worldwide, with over half of those being outside the U.S.

The U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and Columbia are the countries with the most Family Profiles, and the city of L.A. has the Family Profile with the most people on it.

Uber has also shared some early data about how these profiles are being used.

More than 50 percent of Family Profile rides occur on weekends (between Friday and Sunday), indicating they’re used more for social outings than workday commutes.

And while the ability to pay for an older child’s ride is a use case, it’s not the most common one. Instead, the majority of Family Profiles involve significant others sharing the same card. In some markets, that’s not true, though. For example, in Latin America the feature is popular with families with children over 18 because most households only have one credit card.

Uber says Trip Tracker is now live to riders around the world in the latest version of the Uber app.

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