A San Francisco startup company called Uber has a very interesting premise. When the app launched it aimed at user's who are more affluent, and was installed on smartphones such as the iPhone allowing the user to call a luxury car to come pick them up. Uber is now reaching for a broader mass appeal with the addition of lower-priced cars to its service.
Uber will begin this week giving customers the option in San Francisco and New York of choosing a hybrid car rather than a luxury car for a price it says will be 10% to 25% more than a taxi. That compares to the 40% to 100% premium increase customers would pay for something like a town car. The company CEO believes that the addition of lower-priced cars is the first big step in taking the service to the masses.
Uber has been successful in raising a significant amount of money, $43 million, from investors since 2011. The company has software that tries to predict the areas where rights are likely to be in high demand at different times of the day. That information is presented to the company's drivers via a smart phone app, so they can figure out where they should be at a given time to pick up customers within minutes of a request. Uber doesn't own cars itself; it partners with existing cars for hire companies and receives a cut of the fair from the car company.