Uber launches new booking by phone feature for Florida riders

No smart phone? No problem.

Uber announced Thursday a phone-booking feature that lets people in Florida request a ride without using the app.

After dialing 1-833-USE-UBER (1-833-873-8237), a rider is paired with a live Uber representative that confirms the trip request, provides an upfront price quote and uses the technology using the Uber app to help find a ride.

“We built 1-833-USE-UBER to expand access for anyone that prefers a little extra assistance when they want to use our services,” said Head of Uber City Operations Danielle Sheridan in a news release. “There’s always more to be done, but this feature brings the convenience of live support to our matching technology so everyday customers get the ride they want.”

Uber designed the phone-booking feature with older adults in mind, but anyone who prefers calling can use the service to request a ride. People without smartphones can also use the new call-in number.

Pew Research found that while 96 percent of Americans own a cell phone, only 81 percent own a smartphone.

To use the feature, a rider will need an SMS or text-based cell phone to receive messages about the estimated time of arrival, the driver’s license plate details and the driver’s name. Riders will also receive a text with the trip receipt.

People can request UberX, Uber Comfort and Uber Black using the new feature. There is no extra charge to use the call-in number, but carrier message and data rates may apply.

Uber is also launching the phone-booking feature in Arizona.

Riders in Florida could also soon see digital advertising on the exteriors of vehicles used for Uber and Lyft.

The Florida Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology is considering a bill (SB 1352) that would provide a pathway for transportation network companies to incorporate digital advertising into their business model.

The framework would allow both drivers and their companies to earn additional revenue.

Mark Bergin

Mark Bergin is a freelance journalist, who previously worked as an online writer for 10News WTSP in St. Petersburg. Bergin has covered the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium negotiations, the 2018 midterm elections, Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay’s transportation issues and city/county government. He also covers the NFL for the Bleav Podcast Network and for BrownsNation.com. You can follow his work on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at @mdbergin. Reach him by email at [email protected].


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