The newly launched service offering older Australians a simple way to get from A to B

Feb 08, 2024
The newly launched service represents a significant step towards inclusivity, particularly for older adults who may find app-based booking systems challenging. Source: Supplied/ @MirnaElsabie.

In a move aimed at enhancing accessibility and connectivity for older Australians, Uber has unveiled a simple phone-call based booking service, allowing users to book rides without the need for a smartphone app.

The newly launched service, known as 13-UBER, represents a significant step towards inclusivity, particularly for older adults who may find app-based booking systems challenging.

Designed to cater to the needs of seniors, the 13-UBER service enables users to dial 13 82 37 and connect with a dedicated Uber team member who will assist them in booking a ride on demand or scheduling one up to 90 days in advance. The phone line operates between 5:00 AM and 8:00 PM local time, ensuring accessibility for older Australians in every area where Uber operates, spanning up to 43 cities and towns across the country.

Source: Supplied/ @MirnaElsabie.

Uber’s commitment to improving transportation options for older Australians is underlined by a recent survey commissioned by the company, revealing that 93 per cent of Australians aged 65 and above feel more confident booking a service via phone call. This comes as a response to the challenges faced by nearly half (43 per cent) of seniors who lack confidence in booking services through mobile apps.

Dom Taylor, Managing Director of Uber ANZ, expressed enthusiasm for the new service, stating, “We’re excited to be offering our 13-UBER service nationally, to provide older Australians with a little extra assistance, when they want to use our services.”

“We often hear from riders whose family members want to use Uber, but are unfamiliar with how to navigate a smartphone,” Taylor added.

“Now, with 13-UBER, everyone in the family can enjoy the same effortless Uber experience, even without the app.”

The research also shed light on the daily struggles faced by seniors, with 36 per cent expressing difficulty in arranging transport, a significant pain point in their lives. Over half (58 per cent) believe that having access to multiple transportation options encourages them to be more connected to their community, highlighting the importance of convenient and accessible travel options.

Diana, a 77-year-old pensioner living at RSL LifeCare Narrabeen, NSW, shared her thoughts on the new service, stating, “It can feel quite isolating sometimes not having easy access to transport, so it’s great to know that more options are becoming available with an easy booking process.”

Those opting for the 13-UBER service can expect the same level of service and safety as those using the app. Upon confirming a trip, users receive text messages with information about the ride, including the driver’s name, picture, license plate number, and estimated time of arrival.

Keeping safety as a top priority for every trip, Uber driver-partners in Australia undergo a number of screening processes in accordance with each state’s regulatory framework before being able to drive via the Uber app. Additionally, all trips are GPS tracked the same way as trips booked via the app, ensuring that all riders have access to Uber’s full suite of safety features, regardless of how they choose to book their ride.

The process for using the service is quite straightforward:

  1. Dial 13-UBER: Call 13-UBER (13 82 37) from a mobile phone between 5am-8pm local time to talk to one of our team members. If you don’t already have an Uber account, our team will assist you in creating one.
  2. Share your preferences: You can schedule your ride for that moment, or for up to 90 days in advance. Provide the operator with the details of your trip request, including preferred time, pick up and drop off location and your preferred type of ride (UberX, Green, Comfort, XL, Premier, Pet, Max or Assist)
  3. Get trip details: We’ll send you information via text message about your ride, including the estimated fare, your driver’s name and picture, car type, licence plate number, and their estimated time of arrival.
  4. Ride with confidence: You’ll receive a text message when your driver arrives at your pickup location. All trips are GPS tracked and all drivers are safety vetted before access is granted to the Uber platform. Their vehicle must also pass an independent annual inspection to verify that it is safe to drive.

“Our mission is to provide every customer with the opportunity to use Uber, the way they would like to. This is a full circle moment for Uber, with this feature bringing the convenience of live phone support to our matching technology so everyday Australians can book a ride the way they want,” Taylor added.

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