After running a nine month long pilot, Uber has launched a new product building on top of its Uber for Business platform for the enterprise space. Uber Central, the new addition, allows companies to offer on demand transportation at a large scale from a single dashboard.
The dashboard is built within existing Uber for Business platform and a single user can choose to book, manage and pay for multiple rides across different routes. Booking a ride doesn’t require the rider to have the Uber app or an Uber account or even a smartphone. Just a basic feature phone would do the job as the riders get a text message with the driver details and URL with the location of car. Everything else like pickup point, drop off point, ride category and payment is taken care of from the dashboard.
During the pilot, Uber worked with over 8,000 companies including The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Uber for Business did a very good job of giving companies an option to easily provide transportation for their employees. While it works for employees, brands can’t really use the same to provide transport for their customers or clients leaving plenty of room for fleet owners to partner and serve them. Uber Central could very well change things and give companies a more efficient alternative.
Hotels often have their own limited fleet that they use to pick and drop guests. Similar story with event organisers. In both the cases, fraction of the fleet is often unused at times and is dispatched from one location or a small number of locations for rides. With Uber Central, such businesses can skip on having a fleet or a number of cabs hired for an event and can simply create rides as and when required. Along with the flexibility for demand, this will also enable for quicker service as well. The value this new addition offers could cause some serious trouble for existing fleet operators working with companies. It will be interesting to watch how they respond.