Photo: Uber Blog
Uber is a startup that has raised $43 million to let people hail black cars from their mobile devices.People love it — it saves them from pouring rain when cabs are scarce, and Uber says its revenue is up 20-30% month over month from last year.
The only problem is the hefty price that comes with the service. For example, it cost Betabeat’s Jessica Roy $50 to get from Midtown East in Manhattan to Chelsea.
This Wednesday, Uber is launching a cheaper service in Manhattan and San Francisco.
Instead of hailing a black car on Uber, which costs 40-100% more than a cab, Uber is introducing a hybrid car service that costs 10-25% more than the average taxi.
“This is the first big step Uber is taking to go to the masses,” CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick tells The New York Times.
Uber’s hybrid cars will be more cost-effective in part because their tanks are cheaper to fill up. Their base fees will be lower too. Uber starts black car prices at $8 in San Francisco and tacks on additional costs for distance traveled and the tip. The Hybrid cars will start at $5 in San Francisco.
While the Boston market isn’t getting hybrid cars yet, Uber is introducing a stretch limo service there, and users will soon be able to flag down nearby ice cream trucks.
“You’d have ice cream on demand,” Kalanick tells The New York Times. “It’s kind of fun.”