By Khurram Aziz email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Jan 15, 2013 12:09 PM EST
A month after the Washington, D.C., city council unanimously voted to allow a new line of transportation apps that would let users hail rides from their smartphones, Uber has made that a reality for locals with its UberTAXI app.
The news was announced today on the company blog, which said the app was still in the expirmental stages.
"Supply will be limited at first. Many taxis don't fit Uber standards, so we are curating our supply pretty carefully," said Uber. "Black car will remain the default. To request a taxi instead of a black car, be sure to select TAXI in the Uber app, then request as usual."
Uber said that all payment is done through the app and the users smartphone. An initial $2 is first charged, standard for any dispatched DC taxi, and then the driver calculates the remaining fare on their Uber-enabled phones, including all tolls and surcharges that would normally apply for a DC taxi ride. Furthermore, the app will automatically charge you a 20% gratuity to be paid to the cabby.
Uber has faced an uphill battle toward acceptibility, with multiple cities seeing the on-demand taxi-app service as a threat to their business. The company has gone to court in New York. Washington D.C as well as Toronto in order to have its service accepted.
In Toronto, Uber is facing "25 municipal licensing offenses, including operaton of an unlicensed taxi brokerage and unlicensed limo service."
In New York, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission voted in December to allow a year-long pilot scheme to allow the use of Uber for its taxi service.
Created in March 2009 in San Francisco, Uber has expanded its operations to include Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, the Hamptons, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, Toronto and now Washington D.C.
The Web site also says that "secret Ubers" can access the service in Napa, Orange County and Vancouver.
The app is free to download and available on iOS and Android.