As an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber is offering a new feature aimed at passengers who want to take longer rides with various destinations. Using the new “Hourly” function, passengers can set the volume of time the trip should take, thereby securing in a flat, hourly rate for the span of the journey.

Hourly rate for those longer, multistop rides is a new way. Uber seems to be a focus on the type of rider who may have once taken public transportation to run multiple places but now might be avoiding it due to the pandemic.

In a statement, Uber’s director of rider operations Niraj Patel also framed it as “an additional earnings opportunity for drivers as we move forward in this ‘new normal.

Riders will be charged $50 an hour for this new Hourly feature and will be suggested to select how long the trip will last before confirming the ride.

The customer will end up paying for the time they picked, even if the trip takes less time. They can input up to three destinations, and rates will exclude tolls and surcharges, too.

There are some restrictions. Customers can’t use the feature for trips to or from the airport, or rides. There may be mileage limits based on the city — for example, in some towns, the limit is 40 miles.

Customers will be charged at a per-minute rate for trips that go over the time limit, or the per-mile price for a journey that goes over the mileage limit. The rates are prorated based on $50.

Uber is now working under new COVID-19 safety guidelines, including the terms that both drivers and passengers to wear masks and limits to the number of riders that are allowed in the vehicle.

COVID-19 has harmed the company’s business. Over 3,700 full-time operators, or about 14 percent of its workforce, have been hit off. And Uber’s riding-hailing business is down 80 percent.

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