Uber, a private car hire service started in the US, has just announced their launch in Singapore, marking its first entry to the Asian market.
[Update] Uber is looking for a full time community manager in Japan. Looks like the company is planning its long awaited launch there.
Uber is your on demand private driver. While news about their expansion into Singapore was first spotted by SGEntrepreneurs back in October, the company has officially announced that they have launched in Singapore.
In its latest Series B funding back in 2011, Menlo Ventures, Jeff Bezos And Goldman Sachs invested a total of US$32M into the then 18 months old company. Some of its other investors include CrunchFund, Benchmark Capital, First Round Capital as well as a few other individual investors. The company is founded by Travis Kalanick, Oscar Salazar, as well as Garrett Camp, also the founder of popular discovery site StumbleUpon.
With its launch in Singapore, Singaporeans who have hard times getting a cab during peak hours or when it rains can now have an alternative to choose from. However, Uber is charging Singaporean users a base fare of S$7.00, and a minimum fare of S$12.00. The price is very steep if compared to the taxis in Singapore, where the typical flag down rate is S$3.20. Here’s the side by side fare comparison between Uber and Singapore’s taxi:
While the service can definitely help to ease some of the constant complaint towards the unavailability of Singapore taxis especially during the rain and during peak hours, the price point of Uber is more than double the price point of other taxi operators in Singapore. Other than that, a private operator like Uber would leave issues such as safety as well as driver’s accountability unchecked.
In a tightly regulated country like Singapore, it will be interesting to see how will the Land Transport Authority respond to this.
Uber is now fully launched or testing in 29 cities worldwide. That includes locations in the US, Canada, UK, Paris, Germany, Australia and now Singapore.