Uber has soft launched (I guess, is the best term for it) in Manchester and the impact is interesting to watch. Uber is basically a ride sharing network (
legally I don’t believe they can call it a taxi service Thanks Chris for pointing out UberX is a legal and licensed Taxi service).
Its quite simple, you sign up and install the app and you can see all the uber rides around you. To order one, you simply request that one pick you up from your exact location. Then say where you want to go. That simple. Unlike most taxis, you can see exactly when and when your ride is coming and heck you can even start walking somewhere and the driver will see your exact location change (great for when trying to get out of the rain for example). No phoning an operator, trying to get through and trying to explain where you are.
There have been apps for taxis but most of them suck and although Uber isn’t perfect, its better than 99% of whats out there.
The fact your payment is done through a connected credit card rather than cash or even debit card is a massive advantage. Frankly these guys have something which is pretty useful. I can’t tell you the amount of times, I have had the taxi driver pull over at a cash machine because I don’t have the cash or they don’t cards. Heck once I stopped at my destination and then had to get back on the road to find a cash machine because their card machine wasn’t working! (seriously!)
However, Uber is the perfect example of how the internet when embraced is disrupting traditional business forever…
From the Cluetrain manfesto… rule #89
We have real power and we know it. If you don’t quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with.
I do feel for the taxis company’s but they had their chances and may have blown it? Just like the music business and many others, they really need to up their game or feel the heat from Uber, as their drivers leave for the Uber deal…