Uber is a ride sharing service based in San Francisco, California. Their smartphone applications connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. Rides are requested by using a smartphone app which allows customers to track their reserved vehicle’s location. The service is available in dozens of cities around the world.
When Uber first launched, only full-size luxury cars were available for hire. These vehicles were also known as “black cars” borrowing the name from private transportation services offered in New York City. In 2012 UberX was launched, offering smaller vehicles such as the Toyota Prius. These smaller vehicles had lower fees making them extremely competitive with traditional taxi services and expanded Uber’s appeal to a broader cross-section of the market.
As Uber and other ridesharing companies such as Lyft increased in popularity and market share, they have been bitterly attacked in numerous jurisdictions by the taxi industry accusing the ridesharing companies of being an illegal taxicab operation, unfair business practices and operating unsafely.