Udayavni Special

Uber announces ‘Uber Essential’ to facilitate essential travel


PTI, Apr 14, 2020, 9:09 PM IST

New Delhi: Ride-hailing major Uber on Tuesday said the ‘Essential’ category on its platform is facilitating travel to locations like hospitals and pharmacies in Bengaluru, Nashik, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad amid the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“With the full consent of authorities, this limited mobility solution has been providing efficient and reliable transportation for riders to essential service locations such as hospitals and pharmacies, as permitted and approved by local authorities,” Uber said in a statement.

All riders on Uber Essential are mandated to carry relevant documentation to validate their purpose of travel to authorities, it added.

With the implementation of the lockdown across the country to contain the spread of COVID-19, the government has allowed only people in essential services like healthcare, banking and media to commute.

With the extension in the lockdown period, such services will be beneficial for people who need to travel to hospitals for checkups.

“Through Uber Essential, we are selectively offering rides for essential services only to cater to crucial travel requirements in select cities. Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are leveraging our technology and network of driver-partners to enable citizens to access essential services, while simultaneously also helping authorities contain the spread of COVID-19,” Uber India and South Asia Director-Operations and Head of Cities Prabhjeet Singh said.

Uber said ‘Essential’ driver-partners are being provided masks, gloves, sanitizers, and safety training.

“They are also being issued curfew passes by local law enforcement authorities to ensure seamless movement to essential service locations,” the statement said.

Uber Essential riders will receive reminders through in-app messages and emails about basic steps they can take to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Riders in these cities can open the app to check the availability of Uber Essential in their area and accessible locations nearby.

The app, it said, has been designed to facilitate urgent travel needs to essential service areas only and has been live for the past few days.

Uber’s rival Ola has a similar service – Ola Emergency – that is operational in Gurugram, Bengaluru, Vizag, Bhubaneshwar, Nashik and Varanasi.

The service, which is aimed at enabling medical trips that do not require an ambulance, will be expanded to other major cities soon, Ola had said.

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