Uber has added charter buses to its Tampa Bay transportation roster.
Beginning today, customers can use the new feature, Uber Charter, to book larger vehicles, including vans, minibuses and coaches, through the app.
Riders in Miami and Orlando will also gain access to Uber Charter today.
The option, first launched in Dallas and Houston in July, furthers the company’s expansion into modes of transport beyond its core ride-hailing business. Uber Charter will be rolling out to more cities in the coming months.
Vehicles and drivers will be provided by U.S. Coachways, one of the country’s largest bus chartering services. Uber will receive an undisclosed service fee from each booking.
“We believe that working in tandem with Uber uniquely positions us to combine existing expertise and new technology services to meet the demands of the post-COVID travel boom,” said Joseph Heap, U.S. Coachways chief marketing officer, in a statement.
Uber Charter pricing varies by marketplace conditions, but customers receive an upfront price and trips require a 20% deposit. Riders can add and remove stops up to three days before a trip starts.
Florida’s tourism industry and the company’s long-standing relationship with local stakeholders make Tampa, Miami and Orlando attractive places to roll out the new feature, said Javi Correoso, Uber’s head of public policy and communications for the South.
“As we start getting ready for the fall and the winter, there will be both demand from domestic and international tourists,” Correoso said. “We think that will make a product like this very successful.”
In 2016, Tampa became one of the first cities in which the company established Uber Eats.
Uber launched its smartphone app in 2010. Since coming to Tampa Bay in April 2014, over 68 million Uber trips have been completed in the area.
In recent years, the company has added partnerships to expand its services. In London, it developed Uber Boat, which partners with river bus service Thames Clippers to provide travel on the River Thames. In Los Angeles, Uber launched a new pilot program of autonomous delivery vehicles. And at several stadiums nationwide, customers now can order concession snacks in advance and skip the (often long) lines with Uber Eats.
How to book an Uber Charter
- Just like a regular Uber ride, travelers book a charter bus through the Uber app
- Select “Charter” and then “New Trip”
- Choose the event type and number of passengers
- Enter your pickup and drop off details
- Choose your vehicle type — accommodating between 6 and 56 people — and enter passenger details
- Review your trip details and select “Confirm booking”