Admit it — many of us have not gotten in the Uber's we've requested. Sometimes, you just need to get someone else a cab that you're not going to be going with. No biggie ... but your friend doesn't have any connection to Uber or the driver, which can be a little awkward. Uber is addressing this slight issue today, with an update that allows you to officially request Ubers for others.
TechCrunch reports that in the new update — which officially rolls out today in the US — users can request a location that is not where their phone is. When that happens, Uber will send a notification, asking if this ride is for you, or for someone else. Once you specify, Uber opens up your contact book and asks you to pick the contact that will be using the car.
Your chosen contact will then receive a text with much of the same information you'd normally get requesting an Uber for yourself — a map showing your route, your driver's name, car model, phone number, etc. The driver will receive the name of your contact and a way to reach them, but will not receive their phone number.
It's a convenient feature that allows people who might not otherwise be able to order a taxi to have a personal driver arrive right to their location. If you have a relative without a smartphone, and they need to get to the doctor, you can request an Uber to their front door. When the car arrives, the driver can say "Dorris?" And your grandmother will be so pleased.
Uber product manager Kyle Miller spoke to TechCrunch about the initiative:
On the product team, we're focused on making Uber accessible to everyone in the family, and on making people's lives easier around the world. What we've learned through research is that at a macro level, people want an easy way to request a ride for a loved one. This was in particular a big request for riders internationally, whose loved ones maybe don't have smartphones or good connectivity, with also a specific emphasis on seniors.
This new update comes just one week after Uber made its "180 Days of Change" announcement, in which Uber pledges to make changes big and small for both drivers and riders.
It makes sense — Uber has had a rough year. Gadget Hacks and its affiliates are painfully aware of Uber's various disasters in its rideshare department, driverless vehicle lawsuits, and general company fiascos.
Maybe "180 Days of Change" is the type of attitude Uber needs to get back on its feet. Lord knows they need all the help they can get.