Uber is adding a pay-by-the-hour, personal-driver-like service during a period of slumping business because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Monday, the San Francisco-based tech company launched “Uber Hourly” as a way to book a driver for $50 an hour. The driver is all yours during that time, and you can make as many stops as you need to grab groceries, pick up laundry and run other errands without having to request a new car at each destination.
The service is billed as a way to “let customers get more done in these challenging times.” What’s new is the hourly rate option; however, booking multiple destinations in one Uber trip has been around since 2017.
How to book Uber Hourly
You can request a driver for up to eight hours, and you’d book your trip the same as always: Key in your destination, and view your ride options.
Below the Uber X and Uber XL ride selection, you’ll see a new “Hourly” choice. Once requested, you’ll browse for a driver who has a spacious and newer vehicle, according to Uber.
For drivers, “it provides access to a meaningful earning opportunity,” the company said in a statement.
Riders in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Miami are among the first 12 cities to gain access to the service. Orlando, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Seattle are included. It’ll expand to more cities in the weeks ahead.
Uber’s latest offering comes as states across the nation ease coronavirus-related restrictions and Americans are wary of close contact with strangers.
Uber saw global ridership drop 80% in April, brought down by stay-at-home orders. Millions of Americans work remotely or lost jobs, so fewer people need to book a ride to and from the office.
The company temporarily halted UberPool, a cheaper transit option, further dampening its business.
Earlier in May, Uber shed 3,700 jobs from its global workforce in response to the pandemic. Workers were notified via Zoom. In a second round, Uber cut 3,000 jobs. However, its Uber Eats food delivery division is booming with new orders and meal options.
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