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Uber’s new dial-a-cab feature is basically just an old-school taxi service

Uber introduced a new feature that basically turns the rideshare process back into a taxi service. The feature is called 1-833-USE-UBER and is aimed at older adults or for those that don’t have smartphones.

The rideshare industry has always catered to those with smartphones since you order your ride through an app. Now, by merely dialing 1-833-USE-UBER, you can book a ride over the phone. Uber is currently testing it in Arizona cities as a pilot program.


The feature works like this: After dialing the number, you’ll be connected to a live person who will confirm your trip request with you and give you the price quote. Riders will provide their name and credit card info that will be saved for future use when they call the number again. You’ll receive text message updates about how far away the ride is, what kind of car it is, your driver’s name, and license plate.

“It was designed with older adults in mind, though our hope is anyone preferring conversational support will benefit from this pilot. We built it based on feedback from older adults who told us the live conversations, and simplicity of experience can make a difference for their transportation needs,” an Uber spokesperson said.

You don’t need an Uber account to use the feature, since the first call you make automatically registers you. Special Uber requests like UberX, Uber Black, or Uber Assist can also be made through 1-833-USE-UBER.

Though the feature is similar to just calling up a taxi company, the same ride-matching technology in Uber’s app is used over the phone, so that riders can get the lowest possible wait time and lowest possible rate.

1-833-USE-UBER builds upon the company’s feature called Uber Assist, which provides additional assistance to seniors and riders with disabilities like allowing wheelchairs or scooters.

The rideshare company has introduced a slew of new features the past year to accommodate all riders and situations better. In October, Uber launched Uber Pet so your four-legged friend could ride along with you without the driver turning you down.

Uber also launched Uber Ski in December for riders in snowier regions with a vehicle that has enough room for skis or snowboards.

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