Readers know that I’m a big fan of Uber, the on-demand car service.
You download an app to your phone, request a pickup with the press of a button. You watch your vehicle on a map as it drives to you and shows you how many minutes away the car is. You can stay inside at home or at a restaurant until it shows up. Your payment details are on file, so when the trip is over you just get out and you’re emailed a receipt.
There are several options in different markets — like black cars, UberX which is individuals with their own cars that drive you, and in some cities even UberTaxi where you’re just requesting a cab through the app.
New customers get a free ride up to $30 in value when referred by an existing member who also gets a free ride. $30 takes me to the airport, or it’s about four short UberX trips where I live.
I’m not the only one that finds it really convenient, and cost-effective (UberX is generally less expensive than a cab and in my opinion more reliable and accountable — see Why Taxis Suck and What You Can Do About It).
Congress does, too.
Hamilton Place Strategies analyzed congressional campaign spending and looked at transportation expenses under $100. Uber has quickly become the majority of this spending, outpacing cabs. (Interestingly, Lyft barely measures.)
The Washington Post covers this and describes another finding — that the introduction of Uber has led to more rides being taken, but without an increasing cost per ride — and speculates,
Maybe more interns cuing up Uber cars so they don’t have to chauffeur officials around themselves?
Federal officials aren’t the ones at the forefront of regulatory battles over Uber — localities and airport authorities are. But with federal legislators and their staffs heavily adopting the technology, don’t expect it to lose too many political battles.
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