Uber is more than a smartphone app – it’s a movement sweeping through major cities around the world.
Uber is a San Francisco based technology company allowing customers to call up a driver in a private car to take them to their destination in return for a fee.
The company has grown from nothing in 2009 to an estimated value of $50 billion by June 2015 despite protests from licensed taxi drivers with concerns about losing trade and vehicle safety.
How much does Uber cost?
The smartphone app is free, but the cost of a trip with an Uber driver is roughly the same as that in a taxi wherever you are.
Slow trips, where the vehicle travels at less than 11mph are charged by time, while faster trips are charged by distance.
The charge for the ride is billed to the customer’s credit card at the end of the journey, so the transaction does not involve any cash.
Uber also charges a ‘surge price’ that adds a premium to the cost of a trip when demand is high.
Where can I catch an Uber car?
The service has spread so quickly worldwide that new locations are added all the time, but the company has a presence in an estimated 300 cities in around 60 countries.
You can watch your taxi head towards your pick up point on the smart app.
Are Uber drivers licensed like local cabbies?
No. Unlike local taxi drivers, Uber drivers only have to pass a background check run by the company and be healthy and have a driving licence.
I’ve heard Uber leases cars and smartphones to drivers
Yes. Uber has special finance terms with some car companies to provide vehicles to drivers. The company also leases drivers smartphones. The idea is to give drivers up to date, smart and clean vehicles so Uber can charge a premium fare to customers.
Is riding an Uber vehicle safe?
With thousands of drivers worldwide, passengers in Uber vehicles have been subjected to crimes, such as rape and theft, but a number of licensed taxi drivers also commit crime as well.
Licensed taxi drivers have to put their vehicles through rigorous safety checks and undergo more thorough background investigations. Their vehicles are more likely to carry identification so they can be traced in the event of a complaint.