Uber has announced via company blog post that UberX, the lower-cost alternative to its flagship black car service, has arrived in Taipei. The launch marks UberX’s second destination in Asia, following its rollout in Singapore last March.
Taipei’s UberX tier brings along Toyota Camry, the Nissan Cefiro, and the Nissan Teana as three additional vehicle types Uber users can hail from their smartphones. Fare-wise, UberX is dirt cheap – passengers are charged a base fare of NT$50 (about US$2), followed by per-kilometer fares of NT$14.5 (about US$0.50) and per-minute fares of NT$3 (about US$0.10). Those prices place the service neck-and-neck against prices for Taipei’s already dirt cheap yellow taxis.
Who was the honorary “Driver Zero?” Taiwan actress and model Serena Fang.
Uber tells Tech in Asia that UberX’s Taipei model resembles its entrance in New York City in Singapore, wherein the company works with commercially-licensed “pro-drivers” who pick up customers from commercially-licensed vehicles. This differs from the UberX’s “ridesharing” model in cities like San Francisco, where ordinary Janes and Joes can give rides for cash provided they meet Uber’s criteria. As a result, UberX in theory poses less of a threat to the traditional taxi industry in Taipei than it does in certain US cities. But cabs are ubiquitous in Taiwan’s capital (arguably too ubiquitous) and the local taxi lobby is strong, so if UberX helps Uber see greater adoption among consumers, tensions might arise.
Uber recently landed in Beijing, marking the company’s 100th city rollout across the globe. While no concrete figures on revenues or total rides exist yet, Uber representatives have singled out Bangkok and Shanghai as cities where growth is particularly strong.