Today, Uber officially launched its app in Singapore. Uber is a startup company that makes an app that allows commuters to request for a limousine. Launched in San Francisco in 2010, the company has since expanded into many cities in the United States and Europe, and have chosen Singapore to be their first Asian venture.
To be clear, Uber is not a limousine or taxi company, rather, the eponymous app that they make allows limousine companies to quickly find potential passengers. In essence, they are the middle man between commuters and limousine companies. The app is presently available for iPhones and Android devices. And once users have registered with Uber, they can immediately request for a limousine to bring them to their desired destination.
The app itself is intuitive and easy to use. Once the app is fired up, it pinpoints your pickup location and gives you a rough estimate of how long it’ll take for your limousine to arrive. Speaking of which, the app also handily features a estimation utility to give you a rough idea of how much it will cost to go to your destination. Once your pickup location and destination is confirmed, you can even use the app to track your limousine’s location on the map and check on his or her arrival.
Upon arrival at your destination, there’s no need to pay the driver as charges are billed directly to your credit card. As for costs, Uber uses luxury vehicles and is positioned as a luxury service, and is charged accordingly. To ensure quality service. Uber even screens drivers to ensure that they meet their strict standards.
In our own experience, we found that depending on your location and destination, a trip using Uber would cost up to twice as much as a regular taxi. Certainly, Uber is not meant to replace existing taxi services but rather complement it by offering an alternative to commuters who are in a hurry and willing to pay extra to ride in luxury and comfort. This should be handy if and when the trains breakdown and you need to urgently get to a business meeting or appointment.
For Singapore, the base fare is $7 and there’s a minimum fare charge of $12. Every kilometer at speeds of above 18km/h is charged at $2.25, while every minute under 18km/h costs you $0.85. Clearly, Uber is considerably more costly than your regular taxi.
In our experience, a trip from Raffles City Shopping Centre back to our office in Genting Lane costs a not inconsiderable $23. However, the service rendered by our driver, who arrived in the latest Audi A8 by the way, was above and beyond what you’d get from your regular taxis.