Uber: an app-based car service for Business Travelers

Uber was named The Tech Company of the Year in 2013 by USA Today .  Uber is an app-based car service that has transformed the transportation industry with its simplicity and ease of use.  For business travelers, Uber has made one component of traveling just a little bit easier.

There are many benefits for the business traveler when Uber is used. There are also cost savings, when the business traveler

knows and understands the pricing schemes that Uber uses. With Uber, the need for a rental car while on a trip may be eliminated. This saves the traveler the cost of the rental car, fuel costs and parking. Uber also offers convenience – which may be hard to price, because ultimately, convenience is priceless for a time-constrained professional.  Trying to get to a meeting on time by competing with other taxi passengers becomes a thing of the past.  Instead, this is replaced with the Uber app that allows the passenger to schedule a ride, and then track the car that is on its way and simply get in the car and go.  How often have we business travelers been refused by the hotel shuttle bus because our desired destination is just outside the traveling radius of the bus?  When refused by the hotel shuttle, and now in a time crunch, the options become limited.  Suddenly the only two viable solutions are getting a taxi or hiring a limo on the spot and over-paying dearly for the ride.  And that’s

only if the hotel staff is willing to assist in this task. A business traveler in an unfamiliar city couldn’t possibly know all of the local cab companies, and is even more disadvantaged by not knowing the types of limousine services available or their rates. 

Uber began its operation in 2010 in San Francisco by launching the app for both iPhones and Android devices. It has grown its operation to service 42 countries and more than 200 cities world-wide. Along the way, there has been much controversy about Uber and complaints that the company was operating an unlicensed taxi service. Pricing is also a an area where Uber has been highly criticized because the company shifts its pricing based on peek travel days such as Halloween and New Year’s Eve and also uses a much higher pricing structure during inclement weather. Hence, it is important that the Uber user know and understand the pricing before signing on for a ride.

For those looking for a reliable and fair-priced ride, Uber introduced the use of the Toyota Prius as “UberX” in addition to their existing “UberBlack ” high end, luxury vehicle service.  By doing this, Uber was able to significantly expand the number of users.  Rides in a Prius are not as expensive as those offered by a limousine type vehicle.

One of the best features of the Uber app is that the passenger and driver never have to exchange cash.  The passenger’s credit card information is used by the Uber app to bill for the ride and it is Uber’s policy that “no tip is necessary”.

Uber’s competitors include start-up companies named  lyft, Sidecar and Haxi. Some passengers prefer Lyft not because it is less expensive or the cars are better, but because of its quirky culture.  It’s a personal choice, after all. Sidecar is still growing and developing and only time will tell whether it’s able to compete successfully against the market leader in this area, Uber.

While not perfect by any means, and despite all of the controversy about pricing and licensing and transportation regulations, Uber is one technological innovation that has made business travel just a little bit easier.

To download the Uber app click here: Uber App

About: PC