While Uber is scaling back some services, the ride-hailing giant is also finalizing some new features for their lucrative business customers. Uber Central, which the company launched last summer, is now live and out of beta, allowing businesses to order multiple cars and handle ride costs for their clients or customers.
Uber Central is a dashboard that works within Uber for Business and runs on any tablet or browser and solves a common problem for businesses. Instead of being limited to ordering one car for the device, Uber Central allows a single user act as a dispatcher and order multiple cars with different pickup and dropoff locations. That means a hotel could easily handle airport transfers for their customers, an event organizer could dispatch a fleet of Ubers to pick up attendees, or a company could send a ride to make sure an important client gets to the big meeting on time.
The app handles the estimated cost and each ride gets charged to the main business account so riders don't have to deal with the logistics. For passengers that don't have an Uber account or a smartphone, Uber can send an SMS message with the driver's name, license plate and vehicle make and model so they can still easier find their ride. On the business's end, the company can save "Drafts" of common routes so they can easily be re-used.
Although Uber Central was originally free, TechCrunch reports that Uber is now charging a separate fee to activate the service within its business platform.