Uber Freight's app focuses on payment pain and user experience to make it easier to be an owner-operator

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mr. Choppers)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mr. Choppers)

Uber threw its hat into the trucking industry with its own app earlier this year, but now it is upping the stakes with new features, The Verge reports. With most drivers accustomed to driving the same old routes that have always accommodated shipping times and delivery preferences, the updates in the Uber Freight app will now help these truckers find alternative routes, and remember those routes.

The Uber Freight app will also start showing routes in prominent markets like the Chicago-Midwest area, Arizona, California and the Carolinas. These routes will be categorized as short, medium and long-haul. When matched with the alternate routes options, it will create and maintain a database of these routes to learn drivers’ preferences.

The GPS-enabled app will help drivers identify less congested roadways. It will also offer suggestions for loads to consider based on previous preferences and current destination. It has been described as being built to look like Apple's Itunes store, using machine learning and algos to match lane and load type preferences (i.e. a driver prefers a specific route or a specific type of freight). 

Uber has also added a guaranteed 7-day driver payment, Breitbart reports. This is a far cry from industry standard payment terms that can extend out to 20-40 days. While that seems excessive, oftentimes brokers will delay payment on accessorials and detention (if pay at all)- but Uber seems to be sensitive to this. According to management, they are building the app to develop transparency for the fleets and shippers that use the service. While quick-pay programs have been around for many years- the costs to the fleet have been quite expensive- ranging from 3.5%-7%. Considering the cost of capital and typical collections cycle in trucking, the APR on quickpay programs could be in the 30-60% range and the payment acceleration are a way to boost margins that are already at 12-18%. 

The Uber Freight app was modeled after the Uber commuter app, meaning all transactions are set at fixed rates.

Uber Freight, which initially launched only in Texas, will be expanded further in the future, company officials noted in a blog post.