Uber’s making it easier to hail a ride — no app required.
The company announced Wednesday at its annual Go-GET event in New York City that it’s launching a new ride-hailing option for people who aren’t as familiar navigating a smartphone. By dialing the toll-free number 1-833-USE-UBER (1-833-873-8237) in the U.S., customers can speak with an agent in English or Spanish to request a ride on-demand or reserve one for a future trip.
Uber has piloted ride-hailing via phone before. It launched the program in select regions around December 2020, specifically Arizona and Florida. But the company temporarily paused the service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the feature is back and more widely available.
When calling, people who have an existing Uber account can tell the agent and use an existing payment method on file. If they don’t have an account, they can pay with a credit card by phone and the agent can create an account for them.
Here’s how it works:
Customers call Uber from a phone to talk to a team member.
Once the ride has been confirmed, Uber sends information via text message about the ride, including the driver’s name and picture, license plate number and their estimated time of arrival.
Finally, the customer receives another text message when the driver arrives at their pickup location.
- What about tips? Booking an Uber via phone doesn’t provide a way to do that — surely to the chagrin of drivers. But Uber points out that riders can give cash tips if they choose to do so.
“Providing customers with more ways to use Uber remains top priority and we’re excited to nationally expand this updated offering,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch via email.