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Uber is making it easier for companies to offer free rides to clients and customers with the launch of UberCentral. The new service is essentially a dashboard that lets any business request, manage, and pay for multiple Uber rides for others.
UberCentral can be accessed via a standard web browser or through the Uber app on an iOS or Android tablet. From there it's possible to request a ride and share location and client information with drivers. The passenger doesn't need to have an account with Uber or have the app installed on his or her phone – they'll simply receive an SMS with their driver's information as well as a link to a map with live tracking. The person doing the booking can also keep track of multiple rides and billing details from one central location.
The ride-hailing company offered a few examples where companies might benefit from UberCentral, from high-end retailers who'd like to transport customers to and from the store, arranging airport service or local transportation for hotel guests, providing rides for people undergoing outpatient procedures at a hospital, senior centers and more.
The service is launching today in the U.S. and Canada, but will likely spread to many of the company's 70+ markets in the coming months.