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October 6, 2016     The Ponchatoula Times
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October 6, 2016
 

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ill By LE LOWRY Times Reporter Gone are the days of whistling, waving, or show- ing a little thigh to hail a taxi. Uber has arrived! What is Uber? Uber aUes, a German phrase that means "over all," aptly describes the global, smartphone app-driven transporta- tion giant that is Uber. Not, a taxi or limousine company, nor a personal driver service; Uber is all of these and more. My interest in this service was piqued when a Ponchatoula friend signed on as an "Uber Driver" in New Orleans. Uber is already available in Hammond. FOTAP is the code to key in, and your first ride is free up to $20. You won't find a beat- er or hoopty in the Uber fleet; there is no fleet. Uber drivers use their own late model vehicles and the seamless smart- phone phone app utilizes an automated cashless payment system that charges fares to a cus- tomer's pre-configured account, freeing drivers and passengers alike from money issues. Uber recruits drivers who are interesting and educated to work part time. Uber doesn't ad- vertise who they are or what they do, that is all strictly word of mouth, but their driver recruit- ment strategy is pure genius designed to also pique consumer inter- est. They flood the mar- ket with semi-celebrity endorsements (i.e. "I am chef ... or Olympic med- alist ... or ... and I drive for Uber). I was hooked and Uber did not disap- point. Downloading the smartphone app is a breeze. This app focus- es on one's GPS loca- tion and connects with the nearest available driver simply by tap- ping the "set location button. A picture of the driver, their vehicle and ETA are posted to your smartphone within sec- onds. Ready, set, go, I tapped, and within sec- onds my screen flashed a picture of Anthony and his 2015 Lincoln MKX. Great, so far. Seven minutes later he pulled up. It may have been the luck of the draw, but ladies, this guy is buff. Anthony, a local real estate broker and building contractor, drives for Uber while scouting properties. The brain child of entrepreneurs Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp (founder of Stum- bleUpon), Uber was con- ceived on a snowy Paris evening in 2008.While attending a LeWeb con- vention, Travis and Garrett had trouble hailing a cab. Tossing around a few "what ifs" the duo hit on a solution so el- egant in its simplicity it is almost magical. Tap a button, get a ride. Garrett played around with a few ideas, ultimately engineering an app for the iPhone that would revolution- ize the very idea of per- sonal transportation. It wasn't long before Tra- vis was on board. With $200K in seed money, Uber was up and rolling by January, 2010. Uber founders boast, "What started as an app to request premium black cars in a few met- ropolitan areas is now changing the logistical fabric of cities around the world. Whether it's a ride, a sandwich, or a package, we use tech- nology to give people what they want, when they want it." And conclude "For the women and men who drive with Uber, our app represents a flexible new way to earn money. For cities, we help strengthen lo- cal economies, improve access to transporta- tion, and make streets safer, when you make transportation reliable, everyone benefits. Espe- cially when it's snowing out." "Uber Technologies Inc." is a multinational online transportation company headquar- tered in San Francisco, California. As of Au- gust 2016, Uber service is available in over 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide. Since Uber's launch, other compa- nies have replicated this business model, a trend known as "Uberifica- tion". Today, Uber the is valued at $17 Billion, a once in a lifetime suc- cess story. What makes Uber the ultimate startup is its business model, which is chic and innovative. Consider Uber's their "transportation ve- hicles", we can't all be millionaires, but given the choice to why not roll out in a Mercedes S class.How about mak- ing your grand Hallow- een entrance as Marty McFly, complete with DeLorean (yes at least one is available, but not in the New Orleans market). Uber, now a global entity is drawing flack from old fashioned transportation services whose fares should nev- er be questioned. Chal- lenged by governments and taxi companies, alleging that drivers without standard taxi li- censes are unsafe and il- legal, Uber drivers were labled "pirate taxis." Not only a private THE TIMES, OCTOBER, 6 2016 PAGE 5 ~UNITEDST,~TE$ Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation POST/~L SERVICE (All Periodicals Publications Except Requester Publications) Tke POnchatOUla T~$ LLC ~ 666-7~11 lo/el/2el$ .i i;;~"~;~'~; ................................................ 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' ..... is possible once you ........................................................................................................................................................................................ have the right applica .................................................................................................... tion and a Client base to support it ............................. .... ~~ ................. : ............. Could Uber be the ......................... next $100 Billion com ..................................................................................................................... i ...................................................................................................................... pany? Seemingly, the ..................................... transportation giant is poised to do just that In August 2014 Uber pilot tested UberFresh, a food delivery app, in Santa Monica, Califor- nia. In April, 2015, Uber- Fresh was rebranded as UberEats and officially launched in food mec- cas Barcelona and Los Angeles. By the end of 2015, UberEats boasted a presence in 10 markets globally including: Chi- cago, New York City, Atlanta, Austin, Phila- delphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Toronto. UberEats is now in 40 markets glob- ally, with 24 of these in the United States. Catering to the "food- ie" in all of us, eclectic menus feature "signa- ture dishes" from a va- riety of partner restau- rants that change daily. Designed to comple- ment the unique flavor of each city by offering a range of cuisines which are delivered by couri- ers -- who may be in cars, on motorcycles, bi- cycles, aboard a Segway, or on foot. What's next for this emerging global giant? Who knows, but it will certainly be "Ubertrie- ben" (over-the-top). ~UNITED~'T,~TE$ Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation P~~ (All Pedodicals Publications Except Requester Publications) 10 E=e~.,~oniGCopyC~;~'~n ] AvmageNo~Cop~s iNo, Co~of~l~le P~eced~ng ,~ ~hs ] Ne=~a~to Filing O.te a Pt~idE~'t~ct~Co~ ~ / I & ............................. ......................................................................... ~ I ce~] ~ 60~ of a6 my d~stnlxld o~ (*kctmnk ~4 ~ml) a~ p~d abo~ a nommth II IT e Grill m n,ng la Pricing) i % # Your pool. O[ r repu at[0n, MON,. 8am :30 SAT. Times Internet Edition -- www.ponchatoula.com/ptimes E-Mail: editor@ponchatoula.com or timesofindependence@gmail.com