Calling an Uber for someone who doesn’t have the app has always been a pain.
If your friend flew in to visit you, for example, you could request a car for them from afar, but would need to monitor the driver’s location on your end, while giving your friend constant updates via text. Today, Uber is finally tackling that hassle with a new feature that lets you request a car for anyone — even those who haven’t downloaded the app.
Now, when you choose a pickup location that isn’t near your current location, the app will ask if the ride is for yourself or someone else. Tap someone else, and you can add that person — be it your mom, college roommate, or cousin — from your contacts. From there, you’ll enter the destination, and see the approximate time and cost.
The person you’ve requested the car will receive a text saying how far away the driver is, as well as the driver’s name and contact number, and a link to track the car’s progress. They’ll also see your name as the person paying for the trip.
When the trip is done, you'll see the option to tip the driver, a feature which Uber just rolled out last week.
The feature isn't a necessity, but it can be useful. What’s especially nice is it doesn’t force someone who doesn’t want to download Uber to do so.
"Just like Uber anonymizes riders’ and drivers’ phone numbers so they can contact each other through the app without sharing contact information, the guest rider’s information is also concealed," explained Kyle Miller, a product manager at Uber.
But note that with this feature, you’ll be the one who’s footing the bill. So offer Uber rides to friends wisely, unless they agree to Venmo you back.