Uber is a mobile phone app that allows users to order a taxi, track the taxi’s movements and that sends users a notification when the taxi is close by. Passengers who are heading to similar destinations share rides and all this equates to a service that is user friendly, more affordable and more efficient – welcome to the Uber revolution.
Frustrated by the taxi system in San Francisco, Garret Camp came up with the idea for Uber while working for eBay. The service was launched there in August 2008 and since then has become a global phenomenon. Now Uber operates in over 700 cities and 84 countries and while it is seen as controversial by some observers, to many it has been a revelation.
The technology that the Uber app uses underpins what it’s users see as one of the services primary values and that is the fact that taking an Uber is much cheaper than the vast majority of the competition. There is, however, no need for cash, Uber deducts the charge for the ride directly from the user’s bank account and the price is shown on the app up front so users know what to expect.
Uber has developed several services to accommodate the needs of their customers. UberSelect, for example, offers entry-level luxury cars to its users and these options are welcomed by Uber drivers who use taxi sales specialists like Cab Direct to find the class of car that suits them. Using UberBLACK will mean being picked up in a black, top of the range, SUV or saloon car, whilst UberX is the most cost effective.
Uber has been so successful and acted as such stiff competition for other taxi services that the whole industry has been forced to take a step back and revaluate its approach. There are a number of apps now looking to emulate and build on the Uber model and they aren’t all just in the taxi sector. Some private jet chartering companies are adopting a similar approach and are enjoying revitalised success as a result.
The Uber revolution has been building for almost a decade and shows no sign of faltering, au contraire, if the reaction to the Uber ban attempted by Transport for London is anything to go by the revolution is in full swing – vive le Uberloution!