Car-hailing service Uber takes on taxis with sale

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm •  Published: July 8, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — The car-hailing service Uber is taking on New York City's taxis, temporarily dropping some of its prices by 20 percent.

The company says the price of its UberX lower-end service is now cheaper than the rate charged by the city's famous yellow cabs. For instance, a ride from Grand Central Terminal to the financial district would now cost roughly $22, down from $28 before the sale. Uber said a similar ride in a yellow taxi costs $24.

The sale in the nation's largest city — one heavily dependent on taxis — comes following similar temporarily reductions in the past month in Atlanta, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Uber says if the reduced fares attract more passengers, it's more likely to keep the prices low.

The trade group for taxi cab drivers said that Uber is just lowering prices to knock out the competition and will later increase its fee. Ethan Gerber, executive director of the Greater New York Taxi Association, added in a statement that yellow taxis are "the most reliable, most regulated cabs" and that Uber's sale is "more about generating publicity then building a solid product."

Founded in 2009, Uber connects cars with passengers though its GPS-enabled smartphone app. Many of its drivers have black Lincoln Town Cars or SUVs and compete with traditional limo or car service companies where passengers make a phone call to arrange a ride. Uber users instead verify their location on a smartphone map, request a car, see how many minutes away it is and then track its progress as it drives to their location.