Remember AOL? Remember its subsidiary, MapQuest? One of the two wants to become relevant again by helping stranded drivers. (Hint: it's not AOL, which is probably beyond help.)
MapQuest won't be towing cars or fixing flats itself. Instead, it's partnered with Urgent.ly to provide those services.
The way the system works seems pretty straightforward. If your car conks out and you're in need of assistance:
1. Crack open the MapQuest app for Android, iOS, or Amazon devices (a Kindle or a Fire phone, if you're one of the five people that own one).
2. Hit the "roadside assistance" button in the MapQuest menu bar.
3. Urgent.ly will open automatically, without the need to download a separate app. From there, you can schedule towing, jump starts, and more.
Perhaps the major advantage of using Urgent.ly is that, unlike many other roadside assistance companies, it doesn't charge an annual fee. Its pay-as-you-go system means that you only pay for what you need, when you need it. (Urgent.ly isn't available from coast to coast just yet, but it's usable in many major metro areas.)
Also, Urgent.ly offers the ability to pay for services on your phone, so you can whip out a credit card and take care of that while you're waiting for a truck to arrive. And Urgent.ly offers a tracking system, so that you can keep tabs on where your driver is and how long he or she will take to reach you.
That said, there is one thing we don't fully understand: why anyone would use MapQuest, when they could just access Urgent.ly directly, via its iOS app or a mobile browser.
Anyone care to explain?