The start-ups that took on the taxi industry are eyeing a new target: public transport.
The past 24 hours have seen Uber, Lyft and Sidecar all launch a new twist on their popular ride-sharing model: carpooling. The three San Francisco companies are letting some customers opt to share a ride with a perfect stranger going along the same route at the same time, for up to half the price of a solo journey. Read more
Uber is wasting little time in putting last month’s huge $1.2bn fundraising to work. As it races for marketshare against not-quite-so-well-funded rivals such as Lyft, it has been cutting prices for its cheapest service, UberX, in several markets including its largest, the San Francisco Bay Area.
The fare reduction is flagged as temporary, which may be just as well: Fortune discovered that Uber is losing money on every fare by paying drivers more than it charges passengers, in order to boost their earnings and prevent them from switching to a more lucrative rival. Read more
Uber, the ambitious start-up best known for delivering people, now wants to deliver anything that can fit in a rucksack. The private driver and taxi-hailing app will on Tuesday add cycle couriers to its New York fleet with what it calls Uber Rush. Read more
The taxi industry’s war on app-enabled chauffeur services such as Uber has broken out into physical combat on the streets of Paris. During a strike by French cab drivers who are protesting against the rise of what are locally called “voitures de tourisme avec chauffeurs”, several drivers and limos who crossed the picket line were attacked, with windows smashed and tires slashed. Read more
Say you’re a fairly aggressive taxi app company with a reputation for hiking prices at peak times and raising hundreds of millions of dollars to crush your competitors. What’s the one thing with enough internet love to offset your karma? That’s right: kittens.
And so it came to pass that Uber, “everyone’s private driver”, for one day only delivered kittens and cupcakes. And the internet said it was good. Even for $20 for 15 minutes of “snuggles”. Read more
Taxi and ride-sharing apps such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are gearing up for one of the busiest nights of the year on Monday, hoping to raise prices, boost drivers’ income – and head off criticism from passengers and lawmakers for doing so.
Uber was given a rough ride by some customers after last New Year’s Eve, when they awoke not only with sore heads but lighter (digital) wallets due to the limo- and taxi-hire service’s “surge pricing”.
At times of peak demand, Uber pushes through price rises of up to four times as much as its regular fares, which are automatically charged to a credit card at the end of the journey.
Although it flagged the increases last year, some passengers – perhaps after a few drinks – failed to notice the warnings and ended up paying over $100 for short rides. Read more