World-renowned car-on-demand service has a soft launch in the city

The global on-demand-car service innovator Uber that has shaken up taxi markets worldwide has had a soft launch in Chennai recently.

They have been testing their service and are all set for a full-fledged rollout soon.

Unlike a conventional call-taxi service; Uber acts as an aggregator online service that connects taxi owners with potential clients. Its strength is in leveraging modern mobile technologies as a backbone for its services.

The company, which has substantial funding from global funds like Google Ventures, TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs that specialise in technology start-ups, offers premium on demand taxi service and offers innovative solutions through their mobile apps that are available on all leading smartphone platforms.

The service’s fleet of vehicles includes Mercedes Benz, BMW, and other luxury cars. The fares are uniform. Depending on the nearest available vehicle, users may even get a ride in a Mercedes.

Chennai is its fourth destination in the country, after Bangalore, New Delhi and Hyderabad.

Uber announced its Chennai launch in a blog post titled ‘Vanakkam Chennai, Secret Ubers are here,’ on January 30, in which Swathi Prithvi, who heads the company’s expansion in Chennai, wrote, “Uber is here to whisk away residents in style and so it was fitting that Chennai’s home boy, Karun Chandhok, ace Indian racer, got the first peek of Uber in the city. He opened up the app in Kotturpuram, requested a ride and, minutes later, a BMW 5 Series was at his doorstep.”

Though Uber noted in its blog that it was in ‘secret testing mode,’ social media enthusiasts have been tweeting about the service's presence in the city over the past two days.

One of Uber’s innovative solutions allows its users to split fares. For example, a person taking a ride to meet someone will be able to split the fare with the person he or she is meeting; or four people sharing a ride can split the fare four ways. All payments are through credit card payment gateways.

Another innovative solution is ETA (estimated time of arrival) that the Uber car user will be able to send as an alert to any person waiting for them.

Uber’s Chennai service has started tweeting and its blog about the city’s ‘secret’ service is at http://blog.uber. com/chennaisecretubers.

The article has been corrected for errors.

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