In a world driven by smartphones, it’s a shock to hear that not everybody has a smartphone.
Well, the big rideshare companies understand this and have made it possible to request a Lyft or Uber ride online: no cell phone required.
There are two ways to request a ride online: through Lyft or Uber. We’re going to break down how to do both below.
- Order Uber Online
- Request Lyft Online
- Alexa Uber Partnership
- GoGoGrandparent: Book Uber or Lyft With a Phone Call
Whether you don’t have access to an iPhone or Android device or your smartphone is dead or otherwise unavailable, it’s nice to have an option to book Uber online from a desktop computer. Note that you still need a phone which can receive texts, as well as a credit card on file.
Booking Uber without smartphone access can either be done using a desktop web browser or mobile web browser. Riders will navigate to Uber.com (m.uber.com if you’re using the mobile site), then click where it says “Sign in” at the top of the page. From there, riders will select “Rider sign in,” then authorize the web page by entering their phone number.
Uber will send a shortcode to the phone, which riders will enter into the page. From there, they will be able to log into the page that allows them to request a ride. Once logged in, riders will simply enter a pickup location and drop off destination, then confirm a ride by selecting “Request.”
From there, they will be paired with an Uber driver, and ride updates will be sent straight to their phone via text message. Without a smartphone, riders cannot see ride tracking information or estimated costs, so this information is shown in the computer’s browser window.
Once the driver arrives, the ride will proceed in the same way as any other. The app will charge you using the payment information you have on file once the ride has finished. If you want to rate your driver and leave a tip, you can do so at the bottom of the receipt that Uber will send to your email address.
For a step-by-step walkthrough of how to request Uber online, check out this tutorial on YouTube.
If you want to call Lyft without smartphone capabilities, you’ll need to request a Lyft online using a computer browser.
To call Lyft online, navigate to their website and click on “Log In” at the top of the page. From there, enter the phone number associated with your Lyft account to sign in. To maintain an account with Lyft, you don’t need a smartphone or smartphone app, but you do need a phone that is capable of receiving texts and calls. You’ll also need a credit card on file in order to pay for the ride.
Once your phone number is entered into the website from your computer, you’ll need to enter all the ride information necessary including the type of service you’d like to ride in, the pickup address, and the final destination. If everything looks correct, select “Request Lyft.”
Like the process of requesting an Uber ride from a computer, Lyft also sends updates via text message, and the Lyft driver and ride information can be accessed through the browser window you used to request the ride.
Lyft will email you a receipt once your ride has completed. This receipt will show a summary of your charges for the ride and include the option to rate your driver and leave a tip. You can always tip in cash if you prefer.
In addition to using a computer to call a ride, Uber and Lyft have integrated their services into other technology by opening up their APIs.
Innovative developers have created the ability for users to request rides through their TV, another app, or even an Amazon Echo. With the location services that exist in most modern smart devices, it’s amazing what’s possible.
For time-sensitive users looking for a ride, ordering an Uber from their Amazon Echo is simple, but it takes a little work beforehand.
Since Alexa, the preferred personal assistant of the modern era, can take voice commands, all Uber users have to do is connect a regular or an Uber family account to an Amazon Echo.
- Open the Alexa app and select the menu from the top left of the screen.
- Tap the “Skills” option.
- From the search bar, find Uber.
- Tap the “Enable Skill” option.
- Agree to the terms to give Uber access to the location information, as long as the home address is current.
- Next, sign into your Uber account when prompted. It will ask you to agree to link the two accounts.
- Tap “Allow.” Once linked, the newly enabled skill will allow you to order an Uber with your Amazon Echo.
Want to see the process in action? Here’s a video tutorial that walks you through the process (we like detailed video tutorials if you can’t tell).
If you have an elderly relative who doesn’t have a smartphone or can’t use the Lyft or Uber app, there is another option out there to book them a ride. GoGoGrandparent is a service that lets older adults book Uber and Lyft rides through a telephone system (no app required).
They simply place a phone call to the service and will then receive a ride. Family members can set the service up and keep an eye on their loved ones throughout the ride, ensuring they arrive safely. To learn more about how to use GoGoGrandparent, check out our guide to the service.
Ordering Uber and Lyft Without a Smartphone: Our Takeaway
Uber and Lyft allow riders to request a ride through so many different avenues. This makes perfect business sense since a large pool of people don’t have a smartphone.
I personally haven’t tried to order a ride without my app through a computer, but I have tried the Alexa route. A word of caution on using Alexa: make sure your home address within the Alexa app is set to your current location, and don’t call a ride until you’ve verified that this location is correct. My driver was pretty upset after showing up to a house that I no longer lived in.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.