Uber is now warming up its engines in Stockholm. The on-demand private car service has been building a lot of hype in Silicon Valley, where – judging from a few anecdotes – people enjoy talking about how they take Uber to places. The service is still in “Sssh… Secret Ubers only!” mode, which basically means they’re still in the trial period and cannot really guarantee availability of rides. But I’m sure our Stockholm-based readers like to feel ahead of the curve so feel free to download the app and see if you can catch a ride.
Here’s how it works. Users create an account tied to their credit card information, and download an app to their smartphone. When you want a ride you just pop open the app and Uber tells you how close the nearest available car is based on your GPS location. If it looks good, you can reserve the car and the app will notifiy you when the driver reaches your location.
When you’re finished with the ride you just hop out of the car – the billing information is handled automatically.
In Stockholm the base fare is 50 SEK. When you’re moving faster than 18km/hr you’re charged 16 SEK a kilometer. When you’re moving less than that, you’re charged the same amount per minute.
For a sample fare, they give the examples of Fridhemsplan to Stureplan at 180 SEK or Central Station to Medborgarplatsen at 110 SEK. A flat rate from the city center to Arlanda is 750 SEK.
You’re paying for convenience, and for fancy black cars (or SUVs), but hey, Uber has something going for it.
Uber has also opened a Stockholm office, so we expect them to be a new landmark in Stockholm’s taxi landscape for some time. Stockholm has a fairly unregulated taxi market, but I have a hard time imagining them making a big value proposition in Helsinki. Here we already have a number where we can text our current address, and the system lets you know when a taxi is on its way.
It doesn’t help beat the taxi queues late at night, but it’s pretty handy in every other situation. It will be interesting to see if Uber will also try to make a dent in a regulated and technologically decent market like Helsinki’s.
Edit: Welp, Uber is coming to Helsinki, they’ve started recruiting here today.