Its not just local London startups Hailo and Kabbee that are taking on the traditional taxi industry – West coast startup Uber.com are quietly making waves across the world with their private driver offering.
The premise is relatively simple – Uber connects its users with taxi drivers in the area, allowing you to quickly book a taxi wherever you are in the city. They call themselves ‘everyone’s private driver’, so we’re talking sleek black cars and highly professional service. You can pay with a credit card through the app, with Uber adding its fees and drivers’ tips on top. It’s designed to make the traditional model of hailing a cab on the street or calling to book a taxi that takes an eternity to arrive, a thing of the past. Currently the service is up and running in a number of major cities in the USA (including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A), as well as Toronto, Paris and London.
One of the key features of Uber.com, as with many of the other players in the taxi industry, is the ability to use mobile devices and GPS tracking to speed up the booking process.
The Uber.com app, which is available on iPhone, Android devices and via SMS allows passengers to quickly locate and order a ride, with real time arrival times given back to the user. Average wait times are usually around 5-10 minutes, making them a popular choice for inner city travel. However, fares with Uber.com are around 50% higher than traditional cabs, so you do pay for the convenience.
- Uber’s hybrid fuelled cab options if you want a cheaper fare
- A new competitor to Hailo, which in turn means better prices for customers
- The way Uber trialled ice cream deliveries in the USA