This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Citing growing traffic congestion and a rising demand for transit alternatives, ride-share titan Uber recently announced the launch of a new service aimed at customers in crowded city centers. In a departure from its existing platform, the new service — UberFEET — will forego cars entirely, and will instead offer rides in select areas via piggyback.

UberFEET will be available as a new option within the Uber app, and will function much like UberX and UberRUSH. Based on your pick-up location and destination, you’ll have access to a fleet of “carriers” who can take you wherever you need to go — the main difference will be that UberFEET is unconstrained by roads, and offers true point-to-point transportation. Instead of entering and exiting a vehicle curbside, you can get picked up and dropped off just about anywhere, including your own couch.

In a press release, Uber spokesman Roland Gunner praised UberFEET as one of the company’s most out-of-the-box innovations. “We’re going beyond door-to-door to offer the most direct and efficient personal transportation service available,” said Gunner.  “Whether you’re stuck in a taxi during rush hour or need to climb a few flights of daunting stairs, so long as your pick-up and drop-off points are accessible, UberFEET will get you there.”

UberFEET is coming to a city near you, offering the most personalized service Uber can conjure.
UberFEET is coming to a city near you, offering the most personalized service Uber’s ever imagined.

UberFEET is the brainchild of systems engineer Carmelita Alvarado, who dreamed it up after suffering a broken leg in a rock-paper-scissors tournament. “Getting in and out of cars was a struggle,” she said. “My cast was too big and my crutches barely fit, so driving became impractical, even as a passenger.” Alvarado realized the market potential of piggyback rides when a roommate offered to carry her to a nearby ice cream shop. “One minute I was ordering a waffle cone, and the next, I was calling my team and telling them to get to the office right away; I knew we had something huge.”

The service will be available to all Uber users, but was designed especially for those seeking to boost productivity during their normal commute. Carriers will be equipped with what Uber calls the flatback  — a wearable workstation that offers a flat surface for a tablet or small laptop, as well as a cup holder, charging port and a complimentary Wi-Fi hotspot. Riders will be able to focus on work without the distraction of having to obey traffic signals or follow directions, while carriers can focus on getting them both from point A to point B.

Uber is hailing the new service as a great opportunity for workers as well. Aside from the health benefits carriers will reap from regular exercise and strength training, UberFEET is projected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the ride-share sector for people who don’t want to invest in a car or are otherwise unable to drive. It’ll also help offset the potential long-term loss of jobs due to Uber’s recent investment in autonomous vehicles.

Why get dropped off at the door when you can be carried to your desk? Image courtesy of Harry Maynard via Getty Images.
Why get dropped off at the door when you can be carried to your desk? Image courtesy of Harry Maynard via Getty Images.

UberFEET is just the first of several new radical inventions currently in the works. The company is putting the finishing touches on a rickshaw service called UberRICKROLL that will launch later this year, and is developing a messenger program for conveying sensitive information via trained pigeons (UberFLY). Gunner is optimistic that these advancements will help the company rebound from what has so far been a rocky start to 2017.

UberFEET is now available for beta testing in several cities, and will be fully rolled out on National Walking Day, next Wednesday, April 5. Through the end of the month, both new and existing users can get a $10 credit toward piggyback rides by using promo code APRILFOOL. If you have a chance to try it out, please let us know what you think.

Featured image courtesy of Weekend Images Inc. via Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.