Uber Car Service Comes to Houston, Delivering Ice Cream, But Can It Stay?

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I knew something cool was going on when bubbles started floating past my office window. Then Abe at the front desk gave me a call.

"Is there a limo selling ice cream out front?" he asked.

"I don't see one...should there be?"

Indeed, there should be, and indeed there was a vehicle selling ice cream around the corner! This, we learned, is Uber. And Uber is uber cool.

The San Francisco-based startup company connects drivers of luxury vehicles to potential passengers using a mobile app.

According to the Uber website, the company arranges pickups in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Dallas, Baltimore, Sacramento, Detroit, San Diego, Atlanta, Denver, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Phoenix and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. They also have branches in London, Melbourne, Munich, Toronto, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Sydney, Milan, Rome and Singapore.

The brand is trying to establish a branch in Houston, but it has been met with opposition from the city due to its similarity to taxi cabs and public transportation. There's currently a petition circulating to bring Uber to the Bayou City.

Until Uber is allowed to legally provide rides, though, it's delivering ice cream. Hungry folks can download the Uber app and request ice cream for four people. The delivery costs $10, and all transactions are carried out through the smartphone. Uber will also be handing out swanky T-shirts while supplies last. And as if ice cream and T-shirts aren't enough, Texans linebacker Brooks Reed will be handing out ice cream in one of the several trucks around town.

Due to high demand, Uber expects there to be a bit of a wait for ice cream today, but they'll be roaming Downtown, Midtown and the Galleria waiting for your signal.

According to the Uber Houston blog, here's how the app works:

  • From 11am to 6pm on Friday July 19, you'll be able to request an ice cream truck to your location via the "Ice Cream" option in the Uber app.
  • To request an ice cream truck, move your slider to the cone, set your location, and tap to confirm your request for some scoops.
  • Once your request is confirmed, you'll see your truck approaching on the map.
  • For just $10, your ice cream truck will arrive minutes later, bringing a bundle of summer treats to you and 3 of your friends while showering you with sweet Uber swag including tank tops, shades, stickers, and more.
  • Demand will be high and it might take a few tries so if your request doesn't go through at first, keep trying! We'll be delivering as much ice cream as we can.

If you think this ice cream delivery/fancy car service is something Houston needs, you can sign a petition here.

Happy eating, and I recommend the Batman popsicle with the bubblegum eyes.

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