The New York Observer reports that luxury sedan service Uber is launching a new app in New York City. Unlike the regular Uber app, though, this would set up customers with presumably cheaper cabs instead of sedans. As is traditional when Uber has a new idea or legal trouble elsewhere, we have to check the augurs to see what it means for the political drama surrounding the service in the District. And this time, the chicken entrails are intriguing.
Apparently, the New York app has run into some last minute regulatory trouble, so Uber has decided to offer free cab rides up to $25 until next week. The Observer speculates this is a move by Uber to preempt Hailo, a British rival that has been pairing London cabs and passengers since 2011 and is set to launch shortly in New York. And look who’s coming to D.C., too, according to a job posting on its site looking for a D.C. general manager: Hailo.
Rachel Holt, Uber’s general manager in Washington, says the company is still assessing whether to launch a cab app in D.C. But if Uber did, it would be an interesting twist in the search for an app that would make it easier for Washington’s independent cab drivers to compete with, well, Uber.