Long known for getting time-poor commuters from A to B, Uber today launched a scheme to help London parents get home in time to read bedtime stories to their children.
The ride-hailing company has teamed up with Penguin Random House imprint Puffin and the National Literacy Trust to launch a “mobile libraries” programme ahead of World Book Day, on 7 March.
The scheme makes a number of children’s books available in select Uber cars for parents to take home. The cars will not appear differently on the company's app, but it will instead be a surprise to both parents and non-parents alike who will find a selection of books in a basket in their vehicle.
The trial will see 1,000 books distributed to the cars of participating drivers across London and Manchester. Passengers will be able to pick up books by Beatrix Potter, E.B. White and Vashti Harrison, among other authors.
“We know modern life is busy and getting home for bedtime can be a challenge for many parents”, Tom Elvidge, Uber UK’s general manager, said.
Research carried out last month by Uber shows that over 40 per cent of British parents admit that working schedules prevent them from reading a bedtime story with their children. One in five parents say they never have time to read to their children, a figure which rises to nearly a third in London.
IT professionals, hospitality workers, and those in the creative arts were among the most likely workers to fail to make it home for bedtime reading.
Over half of parents surveyed wished they could read to their children more often, with 45 per cent wanting to read to their children daily.
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Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, highlighted the importance of reading to children, saying: “Amid increasingly busy family lives, research shows that finding just 10 minutes a day to read with your child can make all the difference.”