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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is full of fight.The cofounder of the online limo service is not afraid of regulators. And he’s not afraid of low-cost competitors like Lyft eating his lunch.
“Competition is good,” Kalanick said today to attendees at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. “You have to be a fighter, kind of be a warrior. If not, you should go do something that’s a little less disruptive.”
Lyft is the service that puts pink mustaches on regular cars owned by ordinary people—not professional limo drivers—who sign up to drive passengers around in their spare time. They are all over San Francisco and are a lower-cost option than the fancy black cars provided by Uber. Kalanick says that Uber has responded to that already, with UberX, which provides lower-cost car service.
Uber’s black-car rides start at $8 in San Francisco. It tacks on additional costs for distance traveled and tips. The UberX service, which uses smaller hybrid cars, will start at $5 in San Francisco.
“Uber’s motto from the beginning is everyone’s private vehicle and that means having choice at different levels and bringing Uberness to every level,” said Kalanick. Black-car Uber rides typically cost 50 per cent more than a taxi, while UberX rides are closer to a taxi in cost.
In New York, Uber is experimenting with letting customers hail actual taxis. Currently, rides under $25 are free, a promotion that’s ending today. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has been disputing Uber’s right to offer the service.
In the meantime, Kalanick’s not worried about regulators or competitors, because Uber’s making money in cities like San Francisco, where it’s been around longer.
“We have tons of cars out there and our partners are buying tons of cars,” he said.
And in a rare bit of transparency, Kalanick also revealed some actual stats about Uber’s growth including:
- Uber is “paying drivers millions of dollars a week.”
- Drivers are driving hundreds of thousands of hours a week.
- Uber is “16 times bigger than we were 12 months ago and the numbers are accelerating.”
- Uber is currently in In 17 cities now, with plans to expand to several dozen next year, including Europe and the biggest cities in Asia.
Just under a year ago, Uber raised $37 million in its second round of funding. Kalanick says he’s not looking to raise another round.
“We’re not running out of money,” he said. “Our business is growing. The cities that have been around for a while, they are profitable.”
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