Updated 08:06 AM EDT, Wed, Jun 23, 2021

Uber Allows Carnival Tourists Find English-Speaking Drivers in Rio

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Car service Uber and language learning platform Duolingo have announced a collaboration to offer English-speaking drivers to tourists in Brazil, prior to the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

The Next Web reported that Uber users can already request drivers that are certified English speakers.

It added that there are more than 1,400 UberEnglish drivers for the service as of today. These drivers can be found in the Uber application through the United Kingdom flags on their vehicles.

In addition, Venture Beat said the move was just in time for the Rio Carnival, which will begin this coming Feb. 5. It is also said to be in preparation for the 2016 Olympic games in August.

The same report mentioned that Duolingo-certified drivers will be offered only to Brazil and Colombia for now, but there is a plan to expand it to Mexico and Costa Rica soon.

According to The Next Web, UberEnglish was launched in Colombia in September last year, and was aimed at targeting Latin American countries, since many drivers have trouble speaking English.

"In Brazil, only 5 percent of the population speaks English and unfortunately the classes cost more than US $ 1,000 on average, making them inaccessible to most," Duolingo was quoted by Prensa Libre as saying.

The more than 1,000 drivers reportedly signed up for the Duolingo certification, despite paying $20 per exam.

BizJournals claimed that the Duolingo test center started in July 2014, and has since offered a language learning certification, which can be completed in 20 minutes.

These examinations can be accessed using a personal computer or a mobile device.

"More than half a million tests have already been taken in more than 206 countries," announced Duolingo.

Meanwhile, Venture Beat said that the UberEnglish offering was also introduced earlier in Shanghai, but Uber had to personally pick and interview the drivers who were the best at speaking English.

It was also offered earlier in the United States for those wanting to find a Spanish-speaking driver, but it did not include certification from Duolingo.

According to The Verge, this sub-service of Uber is in addition to similar new offerings of the company, which include UberXL and UberBlack.

"It's the latest in a string of recent partnerships for Uber, accompanying the company's successful fundraising efforts," added the same report.

Aside from these plans, The Verge said that there are also rumors that Uber could have a collaboration with Tesla to develop a self-driving car.

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