Uber, the San Francisco start-up that created the app for on-demand private driver requests, is giving ice cream a trial run today. The test will allow Uber users to summon the ice cream man to their location from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Toronto, and until 7 p.m. in New York.
The service is beginning as an experiment. Depending on today's business, Uber and the partnering ice cream trucks will determine if, and how often, to offer on-demand ice cream in the cities they serve.
The process is simple; a user selects the ice cream cone icon on the app, enters a location and submits a request for a truck. A confirmation and estimated arrival time is returned, and ice cream follows.
The ice cream offerings will vary from city to city, and users will be required to purchase by the bundle. In Boston, ice cream sandwiches and Klondike bars will be available. In New York, trucks from gourmet ice creameries Van Leeuwen and Cool Haus can be requested — with a bundle of five ice creams available for $12 (not bad considering the quality goods these two offer).
For the nostalgic, much of the loveliness is in hearing the distant chimes of the ice cream truck as it slowly winds its way through the neighborhood. Scheduling an appointment with the ice cream man may feel about as spontaneous as a surprise party you know is coming. But Michael Pao, general manager at Uber, told The New York Times
that the new service will reinvent the idea of getting ice cream from a truck.
“We’re offering a new way to experience ice cream similar to transportation,” he said. “Opening your app and tapping a button and having something show up is magical when it comes to transportation. We feel it will be magical for other things too.”