Offering ride share in more than 45 countries and 100 cities worldwide, the Uber app
has officially launched
in Boise. The app allows anyone to hail a "private driver" on their smartphones. The app platform, an alternative to taxi cab services, charges the passenger for the ride so there is never an exchange of payment between driver and rider. Drivers use their own personal cars.
Starting at noon, Uber's giving away 43 free rides to anyone—under $50.
sat down with Uber spokesperson Michael Amodeo this morning, and got a glimpse of the company's future in the City of Trees. Amodeo said Uber decided to come to Boise because web analytics showed many Boiseans downloaded the app, but were then disappointed to see the service wasn't actually operational in the city. He said Uber already has a relationship with several drivers in the area who signed up with the app. He's anxious to expand already.
To celebrate the launch, Uber is hosting a launch party at Bittercreek Ale House this evening from 5 to 7 p.m.
Amodeo said Uber rates for rides are typically cheaper than taxis
. City rates cost $2.60 to hire a cab and then $2.40 per mile, whereas Uber charges $2.50 to hire a driver, and then $1.75 per mile and $0.25 per minute, as well as a $1 insurance fee. To cancel a ride with Uber costs the passenger $5.
For example, a fare from downtown Boise to the North End might cost $6 or $7. From Boise State University to downtown might run $7 or $8. To ride from downtown Boise to Southeast Boise could be $13 to $16.
Applications to drive for Uber
include a rigorous background check going back seven years. Applicants with past DUIs are ineligible to offer rides via Uber. All vehicles must be 2005 or newer, have four doors, and undergo inspections from a local business. Learn more about Uber's launch in Boise in the next issue of the Boise Weekly