Uber experiments with on-demand ice-cream trucks
Today, Uber is running a trial expansion of its services, offering on-demand ice cream in seven cities.
San Francisco-based startup Uber, developer of the Summon-a-Car application, is temporarily giving users the ability to call an ice-cream truck through their app.
The company's app, available on Android or iPhone, can be used to request and book private vehicles in a number of U.S. cities. Today, however, users in seven cities can also use the app to request the presence of an ice-cream truck.
San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Washington and Toronto have on-call ice cream today, according to Uber's blog. The trucks will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in New York, and noon to 6 p.m. in other cities.
Once a user has selected the ice cream cone icon on their app, they set their location and file a request for a truck. After the request has been received, an estimated time of arrival is sent to the application.
People who use the app will need to purchase their frozen treats in bundles: in New York, for example, five ice creams will cost $12.
General manager at Uber, Michael Pao, believes the on-demand service will appeal to consumers. He told the New York Times:
"We're offering a new way to experience ice cream similar to transportation. Opening your app and tapping a button and having something show up is magical when it comes to transportation. We feel it will be magical for other things too."
Depending on how today's trial goes, Uber and its network of ice cream trucks will determine whether the on-demand ice cream service will be available in future and, if the service does make the cut, how often it will run.
The trial marks the end of a good week for the company, asproposed by Washington D.C. that could have forced it to dramatically increase its fares.