We were recently tipped off that San Francisco-based startup Uber has started “secretly” offering its on-demand driver services in the Phoenix metro area.
Founded in 2010, Uber is a service that connects passengers with drivers, predominantly through its mobile application (available on iPhone and Android). The app displays a real-time map of Uber cars nearby that passengers can book directly through the app, website or via text message. Passengers scan their credit card when they first sign up, so the fare (including tip) is automatically deducted after each ride, and passengers receive a receipt via email.
While booking a ride with Uber generally costs a bit more than a taxi cab (the base fare in Phoenix is $7.00 plus $3.25 per mile or $0.75 per minute), passengers benefit from the ease and efficiency of booking, the clean, upscale black sedans, and the streamlined, automatic payment process.
Uber doesn’t actually own any cars or hire its own drivers, but rather, the company partners with existing car services in each city. This way Uber cuts down on overhead, and local driving companies get extra business.
Currently backed by its second round of venture funding (the company has raised more that $49 million altogether), Uber has grown leaps and bounds over the last two years, opening offices in major cities throughout the US as well as expanding to cities across the globe such as Toronto, London and Paris.
While Uber has kept a low profile in Phoenix so far, anyone with an Uber account can already take advantage of the service, and the company is said to be launching here publicly in mid-November. We’ll keep you posted about the launch event!
Now, if we could just convince Uber to bring back those on-demand ice cream trucks…
More About Uber
Co-Founders: Travis Kalanick, Oscar Salazar
Funding: Raised $49.5 million in two rounds of venture funding
Twitter: @Uber, @Uber_PHX
Headquarters: ASU SkySong