Uber Experiments With Lower-Priced Taxis In Chicago Through Newly Launched Labs Group, ?Garage?
Back when Uber intially launched in San Francisco, it was heralded as a service that would disrupt the taxi industry by providing black cars on-demand via mobile phones. Thus fare, the service has gained a loyal following, and expanded to a number of cities including Seattle, New York, Paris, and Chicago. Today, we?re seeing a possible evolution of Uber with a new experiment in Chicago?using Taxis.
Here?s how Uber works. The service allows you to order a black car to come to your location via an Android or iOS app. You can actually track your car as it comes to your location as the app tracks the car via GPS. Payments are handled automatically by charging the card you have on file (no swiping necessary and gratuity is includes), and it costs at least 50% more than a taxi. But you can order comfortable transportation on demand, which is worth the premium to many.
Today, Uber is debuting their own version of Google Labs, called Uber Garage, which is a workshop where the company will experiment with new ideas for urban transportation. The first project that Garage is launching is Taxis in Chicago. Basically, now Chicago users will be able to see participating taxis, as well as black cars, on the their mobile apps as a transportation option. This is the first time Uber has experimented with different car types with lower price points.
Why Chicago first? Uber?s CEO Travis Kalanick says that its because the city has a larger than normal capacity (50% more cabs per capita than NYC) and low prices, which offers potentially high availability at a greater price point. The benefit for the consumer is that you can order a Taxi from your iPhone without getting out your wallet, swiping a card, dealing with cash and more. The benefit for the taxi driver is that they can get more trips, as well as guaranteed tips via Uber.
So when Chicago users pull out their Uber app now, select riders will find a way to see just Taxi cabs that are close to them on the map of the Chicago area. Similar to the way you order a black car v