Uber, the San Francisco-based tech startup / car service that has been disrupting both the taxicab and limousine industries, has made its way to Tampa and will be driving into Charlotte soon. The occasion? National Conventions of both the Republican and Democratic flavor.
Politico.com interviewed Rachel Holt, Uber's Washington, D.C. general manager, and discovered that "some of the folks who work at the conventions reached out to [Uber] originally. They were folks who had used and experienced our services in D.C. and other cities," Holt said.
There has been much debate about whether Uber is a taxi service or limo service, because it charges by distance and time, like taxis, but deploys a fleet of luxury sedans "borrowed" from limousine companies. For Tampa and Charlotte, Uber will calculate fares on an $8 base rate, plus an additional charge based on either mileage or time.
If the car is cruising along, the rate is based on distance, at $4 per mile. If the car is sitting in traffic, the rate is based on time, at $1 per minute.
County regulations in Tampa mean the minimum fare is $50. Uber estimates that a trip from Tampa to Brandon, Fla. will be about $65; from Tampa to Palm Harbor will be $100.
In Charlotte, the minimum fare will be $20.
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Uber recently ran into trouble in Boston whenthe city sent Uber a cease-and-desist order, but that was subsequently turned over when the Mass. governor reversed the ruling and gave Uber freedom to continue operations.
It seems that Uber is conquering regulator roadblocks and picking up speed. What are your thoughts on it, and how do you think it will affect the industry? Are you prepared to adapt your service to compete with Uber, or is it something you are not concerned about? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
— Michael Campos, LCT associate editor
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