This Game-Changing Uber Feature Can Help You Navigate Without Data Coverage

In case you didn't know, there are other ways to order an Uber besides using the app. The rideshare company offers a web app experience that mimics the usual booking process, perfect for when you don't have your smartphone in tow. All you need to do is log into your account, input your pickup and dropoff points, and select the type of car you want to book. While both the in-app and online options only require a little data, you still need stable internet access to successfully secure a ride. Luckily, Uber eventually introduced a third option, and it's as easy as booking a taxi. Remember those?

You know how back in the, err, Stone Age, when you had to call a number to request a taxi? Uber has established its own toll-free number for booking rides through phone calls. When you dial 1-833-USE-UBER, you'll be connected to an Uber agent who you can speak to in English or Spanish. They will then book a ride on your behalf and send the details via SMS, including the driver's name, contact number, and ETA, as well as the license plate and model of the vehicle.

Uber first piloted this feature in 2020 in Arizona. At the time, a rep told The Verge that it was created to cater to passengers "preferring conversational support." But it appears that it can also be helpful during moments in your travels when you don't have access to reliable data, aka, when you're in the middle of nowhere.

There are a few caveats

While Uber's call-to-ride option certainly comes in handy when you have spotty data coverage, it's currently only available in the U.S. and only accessible between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. You also cannot use a landline to hail a ride, as Uber requires users to have at least an SMS-based device to receive messages about the trip. It doesn't necessarily need to be a smartphone, but it should be capable of receiving texts.

In the event that you lose your phone and wish to order an Uber using the toll-free number, you cannot ask someone else to book for you, as Uber only permits account holders to request rides for themselves. All calls must also come from a phone number associated with an existing Uber account. However, the company notes that its agents can assist users in creating new accounts, so there may be a chance that they can set up one for you using the information they already have on file. It never hurts to ask.

But what's even better, is that you can pre-book rides via phone up to 90 days in advance. As for payments, Uber is a strictly cashless service, so the ride will be charged using the debit or credit card linked to your account. But you can always tip your Uber driver using cash. That's always appreciated.