Uber, a smartphone application that connects customers with hire-a-taxi services, was unveiled here on Tuesday.

The application-based service has been in a ‘secret soft launch’ phase for the past 45 days, with several luxury cab services signing up to use the interface, Uber representatives announced.

The San Francisco-based tech firm, which is backed by Google Ventures among other investors and operates in 35 cities across the world, hopes to later expand to other metros and perhaps also try its hand with the non-luxury segment.

Uber claims that its USP is all about making the system more efficient by speeding up the process of getting a cab. Their demo showed that once the app is installed, ID registered and credit card details filled in, the process of booking a cab is fairly smooth. Jambu Palaniappan, head of Europe Middle-East, Africa and India (Expansion), of Uber, said, "The USP is optimising fleet utilisation. This is a positive both for customers who can access their service in the shortest time possible and for the taxi service that can optimise its resources."

Uber claims that after a week of testing in Bangalore, the company decided to reduce the minimum fare to Rs. 200 (for seven kilometres). The billing formula is different with a part of the bill amount factoring in driving time.