Uber Launching Taxi Service

From Uber’s website – Washington, Help Us Inaugurate UberTAXI:

There’s nothing more American than the freedom to choose—so it’s fitting that Uber is bringing our nation’s capital yet another choice when it comes to getting a reliable ride. Starting today, you’ll be able to use UberTAXI to request a DC cab right alongside our existing sedan and SUV service.

Just like with our black car service, open up your Uber app and you can easily request a DC taxi, pay with your credit card, and do it all with just the tap of a button. In a nutshell, UberTAXI offers the reliability and convenience you expect from Uber at a lower cost, so you can pick exactly what kind of ride you need, whenever you need it.

Thanks to the pro-innovation, pro-consumer legislation passed last month by the DC Council, we know that Uber is here to stay, which is why we are rolling out new transportation options like UberTAXI. But make no mistake: it’s still an experiment, and we will continue to improve on UberTAXI as more people use it.

Continues after the jump.

Ready to try UberTAXI? Please keep these things in mind:

Supply will be limited at first. Many taxis don’t fit Uber standards, so we are curating our supply pretty carefully.

Black car will remain the default. To request a taxi instead of a black car, be sure to select TAXI in the Uber app, then request as usual.

Once you get in the car, your driver will start the regular taxi meter. At the end of the trip, your driver will input the fare into their Uber iPhone, including all tolls and surcharges that would normally apply for a DC taxi ride. This also includes the $2.00 dispatch fee, standard for any dispatched DC taxi.

Like any Uber ride, you don’t need to pay the driver directly. All charges will go to your credit card on file.

A 20% gratuity will be added to your fare. This will be done automatically and charged to your credit card, exactly like a black car Uber ride (and unlike any taxi ride you’ve ever taken here in the District!).

At this time, TAXI will only be available for pick-ups in the District. If you are in Virginia or Maryland, stay tuned for updates about when UberTAXI will be available to you.

Requesting via text message? Head to m.uber.com to request a taxi.

Don’t need a taxi? You can keep using all the same sedan and SUV options exactly as before.

10 Comment

  • I guess this is good if you live in an area with infrequent cabs…otherwise I don’t see myself using this just to pay more for one of DC’s shitty cabs.
    I do appreciate what Uber is doing improve DC cabs.

  • I’m sure some people are willing to pay the extra fees for the convenience of paying by credit card and ordering a ride without calling an unreliable dispatcher, but for me, the whole benefit of Uber is not having to deal with poorly maintained DC cabs and reckless/rude cabbies.

    • Agreed, but to the extent Uber does a good enough job vetting the cabbies it picks, I wouldn’t mind paying a slight premium ($2-3) for both being able to use a credit card and ordering the ride, AND for getting a cab that went through some sort of higher approval process.

    • For me, it’s the opposite. I don’t care what the cab looks like or how much the cabbie smiles, as long as I can rely on pick-up and know exactly how far away it is when I really need it. I’ll give this a try.

  • I have no proof of course… but this smells like a concession to the taxi industry that popped out during Uber’s legal battles last year. not a bad thing… I like the Uber app and think that their programmers will probably be able to integrate the taxi aspect with some success for all. I had downloaded the taxi magic app, but found it annoying for the most part.

  • If they do a good job vetting the cabs and drivers this could be great.

    In recent months I have been in taxis where the driver was typing on a full sized laptop while driving and where the driver repeatedly fell asleep while driving. So I’m kind of done with taxis, in the sense that I won’t hail one off the street except under duress.

  • I’m very curious about this… It may be worth the markup if Uber can devise a way to only utilize clean, newer, mechanically reliable cabs with clean, courteous drivers who are not talking on their cellphones the entire time.

    I don’t like that it automatically adds in a 20% tip, though. Unlike, say, a restaurant that adds in a pre-determined gratuity for groups of a certain size, there is no manager here you can go to and have it adjusted before you pay if you think for some reason that it is not deserved.

    The opposite side of it is that I’ve given out much more than 20% for excellent service. I’ve had rides before where the total was $12 and I’ve given the driver a $20, for example, if I found him or her to be particularly friendly, if they gave me a good tip on a restaurant, or if I was just feeling particularly generous that day.

    Uber would be smart to adopt the Philadelphia model – at the end of a ride in a Philadelphia cab, if you’re using a credit card, the screen will “suggest” a 20% tip and a 25% tip (with some kind of minimum, like $1.50 tip for short rides) – you push a button to select one of the suggestions or a third button to type in your own amount, which can be higher or lower than the suggested gratuities. Most people go with one of the suggestions, but it allows flexibility. An added bonus for Uber is that if they notice trends, say Driver X almost *always* gets less than 20% tips, it can help them spot drivers who’s attitude is not up to Uber standards.

  • i know that Uber drivers can actually give stars to their customers (just like customers give stars to the driver)… I wonder if that same policy will apply in taxi cab situations.

  • Uber has regular taxi service in both DC and Boston already. I wouldn’t use it in Chicago, but it came in handy for the trip the airport in Boston. All the convenience of Uber (credit card, dispatch, automatic tip) with a slightly smaller price tag.

  • Okay, maybe I really am a diva, but I for one would rather be hauled around in a Suburban when with a group of friends, or a Towncar when it’s just me and the other Mr. GreenThumb, than a shitty minivan or Camry any day of the week.

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