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MapQuest Partners with Urgent.ly for Roadside Assistance

MapQuest has updated its app to include roadside assistance in partnership with Urgent.ly. This not only offers real value to end users but helps differentiate the app from competitors.

I exchanged emails yesterday with Chris Spanos, founder and CEO of Urgent.ly. The deal gives a big national boost to the startup. Until recently the geographic scope of Urgent.ly’s service was limited. This marks a formal nationwide rollout.

Urgent.ly charges a flat rate depending on the particular service needed and location. Services include towing, battery jumpstart, gas, flat tire and car lockouts.

The service fee is shown up front. The pitch is that for most customers this will save money annually vs. a more traditional “auto club” membership.

Mapquest-Urgently

Spanos said that one of the advantages of Urgent.ly, beyond cost savings, is that the company finds the closest available service provider to save time. This is a significant advantage vs. the “window” time estimates provided by AAA and others.

Urgent.ly describes itself as “Uber for roadside assistance.” While that comparison/pitch is overused, in this case it’s appropriate. Consumers are able to see the service provider’s progress and arrival time. And customers are charged via credit card only after the service is completed to their satisfaction.”

With the addition of Urgent.ly MapQuest has something interesting and unique to promote to consumers. It should aggressively do so in order to generate downloads and usage. However it will need to build on this feature with further differentiation if it wants to truly challenge Google and Apple Maps.

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