Uber, the controversial digital-age private taxi service, is driving around something other than passengers today. It’s driving around nurses, offering free flu shots on demand to customers who request them, as part of a one-day experiment in New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. Ordering a flu shot is pretty much exactly the same as ordering a car, as you can see from the screen shot here. In addition to the usual choices — UberX, Black Car, Taxi — there’s a “Health” choice. Pick that, and you offered the chance to have an Uber show up where you are, with a nurse bearing a needle.
The test program only runs until 3 p.m., and as you might imagine, it’s getting slammed. So you might already be blocked out today. In Washington D.C. at 2 p.m., there was no ETA for an Uber Health arrival, and selecting health produced the message “No Cars Available.”
Still, it’s a fascinating experiment, and worth even the blip of publicity around getting a flu shot.
“We’re leveraging the reliability and efficiency of the Uber platform and launching a one-day pilot program—UberHEALTH—in select cities today. Together with our partner Vaccine Finder we will bring flu prevention packs and shots directly to you – at the single touch of a button,” said Uber on its website. “Even better, for every shot given, Uber will donate $5 to the Red Cross to support vaccination efforts for children including its Measles & Rubella Initiative.”
“Unable to get UberHEALTH? Use Vaccine Finder to find the nearest shot provider nationwide,” says Uber,
Good on Uber for doing a good thing, and for a clever experiment with its on-demand platform. It’s easy to imagine how today’s experiment could be duplicated, or expanded. Don’t take your eye off all the other issues with Uber, however, beginning with an increasing drumbeat of stories around Uber drivers who sexually harass their passengers.