Uber is in the first stage of conquering the Irish taxi industry, and it’s facing fierce resistance from a local rival app.
The US-based Taxi App Uber, with an estimated value of $18 billion, has launched its services in Ireland with relatively little fanfare, the Irish Independent reports. At this stage, it only offers its luxury service Uber Black, targeting corporate travelers. The fare is higher than what users would pay for a taxi, with a minimum charge of $20.
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But Uber is facing powerful competition in Ireland, from Hailo, yellow-themed app already downloaded by hundreds of thousands of Irish users.
And Hailo already appeals to the more economically minded user, offering a flat 20% off all fares.
For the record, the last four years have seen a tremendous efficiency improvement in the world’s taxi industry due to Uber and its many imitators, Passengers are able to contact any cab near their location that’s in the Uber system, drivers benefit by picking up fares they would otherwise be unaware of.
Uber cars don’t use a standard meter in many cities. Instead the fare is calculated using the company’s own GPS-based mileage counter. Uber says this makes their fares between 10% and 30% cheaper than competing taxis.
“We are opening up the market to people who previously couldn’t afford taxis” said Uber UK and Ireland general manager Jo Bertram. “We even have a split fare option, making it really easy to share cabs”.
Experts expect Uber to win in Ireland because of its sheer size. Their competitor has raised around $80 million from investors, most notably Richard Branson, but it’s no match to the American juggernaut. Initially established by a London cab driver, it is only available in a few cities in Ireland, the UK, the US and Japan.
When Uber is ready to remove Hailo off the map, it will.
An American competitor, Lyft, has accused Uber staff of ordering thousands of Lyft rides and canceling them at the last minute. Uber accused Lyft of faking as many as 13, 000 Uber rides. Both company denies each other’s accusations.
Meanwhile, Uber continues to grow and take over the world. The TripAdvisor website is now linked to Uber for ground transport in more than 40 cities worldwide. When TripAdvisor users check for listings of restaurants, hotels, or entertainment, they will now also see an estimate of Uber car fares and the wait times for pickup.