With some 38 million Spanish speakers in the U.S., it’s little surprise that an increasing number of companies here are adapting their businesses to serve the market. One such outfit is Uber, which on Tuesday announced an expansion of its ride-hailing service that lets passengers request a Spanish-speaking driver.
Launched earlier this year in San Diego, Phoenix, and Tucson, the company is now rolling out the free option to users of its app in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Chicago. San Francisco-based Uber says it launched uberESPAÑOL in response to requests from both passengers and drivers who’ve been asking for the service to “reflect the multilingual aspects of the multicultural communities in which we operate.”
The new option is a breeze to use – simply open the app and enter the code “uberespanolla” in the Promotions section. Next, toggle over to uberX in the vehicle menu, select the ESPAÑOL option, and place a request. Of course, it’s not just the Spanish-speaking population who may want to make use of Uber’s new option – travelers from Spanish-speaking countries will also find it appealing, as might students of the language who could see it as a neat way of honing their skills during their ride from A to B.
It’s not the first new feature Uber has introduced recently. The company has added several unusual elements to the ride-sharing service in an effort to make it stand even further apart from other similar apps, and the traditional taxi. For example, UberEATS drops off set meals to hungry (but lazy or time-strapped) customers, while a test scheme in Toronto provided a breathalyzer kiosk to help drunk would-be passengers hail an Uber ride. Despite all this, Uber is never far from controversy, and it has recently asked U.S. courts to drop charges against it regarding an alleged rape in India.