Lots of people don’t know this, but ride-hailing app maker Uber has a separate business-related service called, plainly enough, Uber for Business.
It may have been a bit under the radar to the mainstream public for the last couple of years, but about 65,000 organizations globally--including Goldman Sachs, Zillow Group, Dell EMC, Wunderman and AdRoll—currently use Uber for Business.
On April 18, the San Francisco-based cab industry disruptor launched a new service inside the business app called Uber Central, with which subscribers can request, manage and pay monthly for rides for others at scale.
Uber Central thus becomes the company’s first global “one-to-many” ride service, enabling enterprises to manage multiple rides at the same time and from the same dashboard. Customers who receive rides via Central do not need to have an Uber account or the app on their phones to take a ride; the organization handles everything.
Instant Demand in the Market
More than 8,000 companies participated in the pilot program, Uber said, showing instant demand in the market. The new Uber Central is designed for businesses of any size and delivers the reporting, billing, and management needs that the ride-sharing company’s business customers have come to expect.
“We found out pretty early on that business users were going to be the fastest-growing area of our business,” General Manager for Uber for Business Travis Bogard told eWEEK. “Globally, between the 70 countries and 500 cities we operate in, having the consistency of being able to pull the route, show up in the city and get the same experience, was really valuable and impactful.”
Uber Central provides enterprise-grade billing, management and reporting. It features a intuitive new control board interface that enables users to see and do everything from a single screen, from requesting new rides to monitoring ongoing requests and active trips.
Central also allows users to share drafts, past trip history, and final trip cost across multiple operators, so large organizations can manage transportation logistics across multiple operators and shifts, Bogard said.
How Uber Central is Utilized
In some cases, Bogard said, Uber Central can be used to replace old ways of doing things. For instance, a car dealership might use Central to reduce the overhead of owning a private shuttle that is used only a few times a day to give customers rides. In other examples, a high-end restaurant or luxury retail shop can offer rides via Central as a differentiating perk to its customers.
There are more meaningful use cases. For one, Central can provide reliable transportation to people who would otherwise be immobile. Many seniors or persons with disabilities—such as Parkinson’s disease--end up confined to their home or need to rely on friends and family for transportation.
When organizations partner with Uber Central, they can provide those in need with a new sense of independence and mobility, even for those that don’t own a smartphone or know how to use the Uber app, Bogard said.
For more information on Uber Central, go here.