Tuesday, October 1, 2013
When Is a Taxi Not a Taxi? Uber fights to change Taxi industry perception forever
When Is a Taxi Not a Taxi?
Uber is a company that’s exciting, innovative, useful, and arguably shouldn’t exist at all. It is a solution to a ridiculous problem created by cartels and overregulation.
“I wanted to be able to press a button and get a classy ride,” explained CEO Travis Kalanick when I asked him to describe Uber’s origin story to me at a launch event for its D.C. branch on Wednesday. So last year Kalanick, Oscar Salazar, and Garrett Camp founded a company originally known as UberCab in San Francisco.
The original name made perfect sense, since at root what Uber provides is a taxi service. Just about every major city in America has, in addition to its heavily regulated cab drivers, a largish fleet of private sedan drivers who do things like take businessmen on pre-arranged drives to and from airports. These limo services generally feature nicer cars, higher prices, and—crucially—different moments of peak demand. Car services get a lot of business weekday mornings, and to a lesser extent in the afternoon rush hour. But very few business travelers need a ride from the airport late on a Friday or Saturday night, which is the time lots of drunk young people want a ride home or maybe to a different bar.
These are two fairly distinct market segments. Airplanes take off and land at defined.........
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Warning to Uber and Lyft drivers