Uber has come out with an online app designed to make it easier for companies and service providers to book rides for their customers and clients.
UberCENTRAL offers a dashboard interface that allows users to book multiple rides for third parties. Through the interface, which is available on all tablet and web browsers, rides can be booked in advance can for multiple destinations and vehicles can be selected among the UberX and higher-end UberBLACK and UberSELECT options, as well as larger vehicles.
“Many businesses want to make it easier for their customers to go about their day — whether they’re picking up a last minute gift, dropping the car off for an oil change, or heading to an appointment,” Uber notes.
Uber — ever public-relations conscious — also emphasizes that the program can be used not only to cart customers to and from pricey boutiques and hotels, but by senior centers and medical clinics to transport patients who may not have smartphones or be particularly adept at using them. Such programs are already operating in the Atlanta area and elsewhere.
The move is the latest by Uber to cater more directly to businesses. Last year, it launched Uber for Business, a program that helps employees to expense Uber rides, a practice that has grown increasingly popular — at the expense of rental car and taxi companies.
Uber has previously partnered directly with major brands, such as United Airlines, to offer ride-booking services.
With UberCENTRAL, the company is In some ways jumping on a bandwagon it set in motion. The online app is similar to Teleport, which launched earlier this year. Initially conceived as a way for someone to hail a car for a friend, it’s since targeted companies that may want to offer ride-booking services.
Teleport makes use of the Uber’s API, the app’s data platform that it has, with some exceptions, made available to third-party developers.
The service might be particularly appealing to businesses since they can charge in excess of Uber’s fee for the service.
Several swanky businesses are already taking advantage of Uber as a kind of concierge service, including Bloomingdales, Hotel Angeleno and Hugo Boss.
“Companies and brands are elevating service with UberCENTRAL. Hugo Boss is reimagining customer experience by making shopping effortless and ensuring clients always travel in style to their store appointments,” the company notes.