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Uber testing PIN feature to speed up airport rides

It's like a virtual taxi line. And rival Lyft is trying out basically the same thing.

uber-scheduled-airport.jpg

Uber and Lyft want to make themselves more traveler-friendly.

Uber

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are both testing out features that help take the hassle out of getting a ride from the airport.

Uber will start testing the use of its PIN feature at Portland International Airport on Monday, according to TechCrunch. The company previously has used this feature for concerts, festivals and sports events. This is the first time Uber will use PINs for airport rides.

rider-pin

Uber PIN screenshot

Uber

Here's how the feature works: When people order an Uber, they'll get a six-digit PIN and be told to head to a designated pickup spot at the airport. Drivers who receive a ride request from the airport will then begin picking up passengers at the spot. The rider will provide the driver the PIN, and the driver enters the number into their app. The result is a virtual taxi line in lieu of passengers waiting for a specific Uber driver to find them.

Uber says the PIN feature can be a positive solution at some locations, but previous tests showed that the current pickup method can be more efficient. It'll learn more about the effectiveness of this new method over the next several months during testing. 

Meanwhile, rival Lyft on Monday announced a similar program at PDX, in which you request a ride and are given a unique four-digit code. You proceed to a designated line at the Lyft pickup area and show that code to the next available driver. 

"We are grateful for the partnership with Portland International Airport and their approach to innovation that allowed us to make this happen," said Bakari Brock, Lyft's senior director of city partnerships. "We are excited to partner with additional airports to expand this improved curbside experience."

Uber is in the middle of a busy May. Uber drivers staged protests last week before the company made its debut Friday on the stock market with its multibillion-dollar initial public offering

And Lyft, which has had a bumpy ride since it became a publicly traded company at the end of March, last week said it's testing out car rental in San Francisco.

Originally published May 13,  7:46 a.m. PT. 
Update, 10:40 a.m. PT: Adds statement from Uber; 3:10 p.m. PT: Adds info on Lyft, which launched a similar program at the Portland International Airport on Monday.