On Wednesday, Uber expanded a host of new services in its app to benefit travelers, just as more vaccinated Americans have begun booking vacations this spring.
Thanks to the new update, travelers will have even more places to snag a rental car, especially helpful during the recent rental car shortage. Starting Wednesday, you can now rent a car directly in the app with “dozens” of top companies, said a statement from Uber. The service, called Uber Rent, first debuted in 2018, but Uber has relaunched it as a partnership with top rental car companies such as Avis and Hertz. The refreshed version of Uber Rent launched on Wednesday and will also offer a forthcoming add-on service—dubbed “Valet”—that gives travelers the option to have their rental cars delivered to their doorsteps and book a driver to pick up the car upon return. Valet is set to launch in May, first in Washington, D.C., and then rolling out nationwide shortly after.
Additionally, the company is expanding its option for riders to schedule a car, called Uber Reserve, to be bookable with UberX drivers across the U.S., as well as in international cities like Paris and Rome. That means travelers will have the ability to schedule a ride up to 30 days in advance, and they can even request a favorite driver.
Later this spring, Uber will also roll out the Reserve feature at more than 20 airports across the U.S. Airport Reserve rides will have even more perks, according to the company, like flight tracking so drivers are alerted if planes are delayed or if arrivals are early, plus an hour-long curbside grace period to give passengers plenty of time at customs and immigration or baggage claim.
Additionally, Uber also announced that it is partnering with Walgreens to make it possible to book vaccine appointments—and transportation to them—through the Uber app. “If reserving a vaccine is as easy as ordering an Uber ride, we know more people will get vaccinated,” the statement said. As part of its vaccine initiative, Uber says it will provide 10 million free or discounted rides to “help underserved and communities of color get the vaccine,” the company said. Passengers will also have the opportunity to donate rides in the app, as part of the initiative, because according to Uber, “transportation should not be a barrier to getting vaccinated.”
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