On-Demand Car Service Uber Is Experimenting With Taxi Services In Chicago

For the last year, Uber has offered a trouble-free way to book a black car from your smartphone. As TechCrunch describes, “the service eliminates everything bad about a taxi experience.”

So this is how it works. You order a car via your Android or iOS smartphone and a driver is sent on his way to your location. The driver already knows exactly where you are because of your phones GPS, and on the flip side, you can also track the driver as he comes to you. Once he picks you up, the payment is already taken care of (because your credit card is on file) and you can relax until you get to your destination.

Getting your credit card on file is remarkably easy with Uber thanks to its integration of Card.io–a service that expedites collecting your credit card information. With Uber, all you have to do is take a photo of your credit card and it will discern the numbers for you and register your credit card online. This means you will never have to fill out a credit card information form for Uber.

Uber has expanded its services outside of its founding city of San Francisco. The service is now also available in Seattle, New York, Paris and Chicago. Uber even experimented with pedi-cabs and on-demand BBQ at this years South by Southwest in Austin. The company also plans to expand to London in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Recently, the company has been conducting experiments in Chicago. They call the project Uber Garage, and with it Uber expand into Taxi cab services, evolving past it’s premium car service. CEO Travis Kalanick says Chicago was the perfect place to experiment because there are 50% more taxis per capita than in NYC. The company is currently doing well recruiting taxi drivers in the Chicago area. Chicago Uber manager Allen Penn syas that they have seen a 30-40% increase in users from month to month. The taxi experiment is going well, and reveals Uber’s true motivations in trying to pinpoint exactly what its customers want.

Uber has just raised 32 million from MenloVentures, Jeff Bezos, Goldman Sachs and Benchmark Capital. The premium service is geting great reviews from its users.

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