Uber, Walgreens partnership lets users book COVID-19 vaccine from its app
The ride-hailing service is also enhancing Uber Eats and adding contactless car rentals this year.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
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Uber announced a host of new services and enhancements to its ride-sharing and delivery services at a "Get and Go 2021" event Wednesday morning, including a way to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine directly from its app, updates to Uber Eats and a new rental service that delivers a car -- hold the driver.
First, Uber is partnering with the drugstore and pharmacy chain Walgreens to help riders set and get to their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Users will be able to schedule their vaccination at Walgreens directly in the Uber app, receive reminders and schedule an Uber ride via phone starting Wednesday in the US.
Uber is partnering with organizations like the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the Morehouse School of Medicine, the League of United Latin American Citizens and other local community leaders to improve vaccine access for underserved communities and communities of color, offering 10 million free or discounted rides to individuals identified as in need by these organizations. Users who would like to help can donate free rides or contribute to the new Vaccine Access Fund function in the Uber app.
Additionally, the company is enhancing its Uber Rent vehicle rental service by expanding to more US markets and adding a new Uber Rent with Valet feature. Essentially an Uber but without the driver, Rent with Valet allows drivers to reserve a rental car and have their vehicle delivered and picked up, contact-free, wherever they are. The rental vehicles will come from the established rental fleets of Avis, Hertz and dozens of other providers.
A more precise and predictable rider reservation system is also coming, particularly for rides home from the airport. Reserve for Uber X is gaining flight tracking information that allows drivers to know if your flight has been delayed or is arriving early, so they can adjust their curbside arrival time to compensate. Users will still be able to book their ride up to 30 days in advance and even pick a favorite driver. This premium Uber service will also be expanding to more cities this year.
On the way home, new integrations with Uber Eats will allow riders to order food for pickup or delivery from the back seat. After pickup, the Uber app will ask riders if they're hungry and show restaurants along the route or near the destination. From there, the rider will be able to order a bite and automatically have the stop added to their current trip. For restaurants not along the route, a separate Uber Eats delivery can be scheduled via a new Order Ahead feature to arrive at their home around the same time they do.
Uber Eats is also gaining the ability to preorder from restaurants that are not yet open to be first in line once they do. Eats will now feature a shopping cart that can be saved, allowing users to fill up their weekly grocery list before placing an order or, starting this spring in 20 cities, even combine the orders for two restaurants into one transaction.
Finally, new perks are coming to tempt users to sign up for Uber's Eats Pass membership. In addition to the 5% off Eats orders and $0 delivery fee on food (and alcohol orders, where available), Eats Pass members will also receive 10% off three rides per month.