Ride or Die

All Grown Up: Uber Actually Sits Down With D.C. Regulators, Gets a Deal

Black hole. (Photo: Wikimedia)

After a series of tussles with regulators across the country, yesterday something went right for Uber. Washington, D.C.–a city where regulators have long been skeptical of the service–has passed a bill that essentially allows the service to continue operating legally. And just a couple days after the appearance of New York Times article about the company’s many Read More

Ride or Die

Uber Temporarily Drops ‘Surge Pricing’ for Riders in NYC After Price-Gouging Complaints

(Photo: File)

Just before noon today, Uber, the San Francisco-based request-a-ride app decided to temporarily turn off what the company calls “surge pricing,” but only for riders. “We turned off surge for consumers, but to get drivers out we’re paying them the surge price,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told Betabeat by email, offering the example of paying drivers double, but charging customers the normal price.

“This way,” he said, “We can maximize the number of drivers on the road.” Turning off the surge pricing will result in “huge losses for the business,” he noted. But Uber will “do it as long as we can today while we figure out more sustainable ways to keep supply up while the city is in need.” Read More

Ride or Die

Uber Sued for Consumer Fraud and Unlawful Practices by Chicago Taxi and Limo Companies

NYC_taxis

A number of Chicago taxi and limousine companies filed a lawsuit (below) today against Uber, the request-a-ride company that lets you e-hail and pay for a car with your smartphone.

In April, the San Francisco startup expanded its service in Chicago from black cars to include taxis as well. (Uber’s recent attempt to expand from black cars to yellow taxis in New York City were swatted down last month by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.)

Although Uber’s brash tactics and outspoken CEO, Travis Kalanick, have rankled city governments and competitors–the complaint even features a screengrab of a contentious tweet from Mr. Kalanick and references his open criticism of “of any regulation in general”–this marks the first time a taxi or limousine company has filed a suit against Uber. Read More

Ride or Die

While Talks with the TLC Stall Out, Uber Partners With HBO to Give New Yorkers a Free Ride in a Vintage Whip

Uber HBO Boardwalk Empire

Uber will not go gently into that good night. The request-a-ride app raged against New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission last week for putting a stop to its rogue mission to let New Yorkers hail and pay for a yellow cab with a few taps of their smartphone. Uber already offers the services for black cars and hybrid cars, but at a hefty premium.

To keep the company top of mind for New Yorkers, Uber is partnering with HBO today and tomorrow to promote the premiere of the third season of “Boardwalk Empire” this Sunday. The startup will be offering free rides in a fleet of vintage vehicles from the Roaring 20’s on September 13th and 14th. The offer is only available 11am to 6pm and only for up to three people travelling between Midtown and Soho in Manhattan.  Read More

Ride or Die

Taxi & Limousine Commission Tells Uber It Can’t Legally Operate a Taxi App In NYC, Uber CEO Disagrees

(Photo: Wikimedia)

“We got a love letter from the TLC,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick just told Betabeat over the phone. He was referring, sarcastically, to a statement issued today by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to “remind” medallion yellow cab drivers and owners that the TLC “has NOT authorized any electronic hailing or payment applications (‘apps’) for Read More

Ride or Die

Uber Wants Its Yellow Cab App to Cost Riders the Meter Plus a 20 Percent Tip

Black hole. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Yesterday, we broke the news that Uber, the San Francisco-based request-a-ride service, was close to launching an app in New York City to let you digitally hail and pay for a yellow cab with your smartphone. The launch was planned for today, but hit a road block in discussions with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC)–prompting CEO Travis Kalanick to offer free taxi rides for New Yorkers for a week while they sorted it out.

This morning, we spoke to Mr. Kalanick, as well as Uber NYC’s general manager Josh Mohrer by phone. Both offered more detail regarding what Uber’s taxi app might cost riders and drivers, why the launch was delayed (cough Verifone cough), and why they rushed into the market (hint: it concerns a different kind of British invasion).  Read More

Ride or Die

Uber Is Offering a Free Taxi Ride to Every New Yorker to Promote Its Yellow Cab App

Contents: one cupcake. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Update 9/6/2012: The TLC just issued a statement reminding drivers they are not authorized to use digitally hailing or payment apps. Uber CEO says, “We believe we are totally legal.”

Check out our interview with Uber about its plans for taxi service New York City.

Earlier this afternoon, Betabeat broke the news that Uber planned on launching a request-a-ride app for yellow cabs in New York City that would let riders digitally hail and pay for taxis with their smartphones. The company already offers a similar service here for private black sedans and SUVs.

However, Uber’s plan ran into some delays as the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission tried to make sure that it complied with city rules and payments regulations. Read More

The Real TechStars of New York

How to Ruin Your Wildly Successful TechStars Demo: Fudge Facts on Stage

Mr. Gaal

You know what they say about karma, so don’t make us repeat it. It looks like good intentions backfired with Karma, a 4G hotspot provider initially founded in Amsterdam that presented this morning at TechStars Demo Day.

In press materials for the spring class, Karma’s one-line descriptor was: “Simple, honest 4G provider,” a sentiment repeated throughout its introductory blog post. But shortly after Demo Day ended, Travis Kalanick, the CEO of request-a-ride car app Uber, tweeted that Karma’s CEO Robert Gaal had not been honest in mentioning a partnership with Uber during the company’s pitch in front of crowd of more than 700 at Webster Hall. Read More

New Kids On the Block

Felix Salmon Pinpoints the Problem: ‘Uber Is a Car Service for Computers’

felix salmon head

When someone forwarded Betabeat Aubrey Sabala’s New Year’s Eve Uber misgivings (“@Aubs While I’m glad I’m home safely, the $107 charge for my @Uber to drive 1.5 miles last night seems insanely excessive. :(“) before we’d even woken up Sunday morning to greet 2012, we knew the holiday backlash against the car service app was on its way. (A different type of holiday backlash, mind you, than the Halloween 2010 incident that left 95 percent of customers stranded.)

Not everyone was appeased by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s apology the next day, in which he called the evening an overall success despite 95 complaints and 15 users who didn’t get the surge-pricing notifications that a safe, prompt, and sober driver on New Year’s Eve was going to cost them a pretty penny, or in some cases, a pretty Benjamin. Read More