Uber is all about a convenient and efficient ride. Some folks might have a tough time describing San Francisco taxis in such terms. Uber SF would like to do something about that. Starting this week, we are testing TAXI as a new option in the Uber app, alongside our existing sedan and SUV service. This is a major addition, and pretty bold. To be honest, this is a bit of an experiment for our users. We’re rolling it out from our very own Uber Garage. So why are we doing this crazy experiment…?

Because CHOICE is a beautiful thing.

We think that you should have a choice of transportation options at every price-point.  You shouldn’t have to juggle a dozen different apps to figure out the best way to get where you’re going.

Are you adventurous enough to try Uber TAXI? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • TAXI will be live in San Francisco starting today. We’re releasing it gradually to make sure things are going smoothly. If you don’t see it right away, don’t worry. You will within a few days
  • Drivers will continue to use the meter in their taxis and will input the fare into their Uber iPhones at the end of the trip. This will include all tolls and out-of-city surcharges that would normally apply for any SF taxi ride
  • A 20% gratuity will be added to your fare, plus a $1 booking fee. This will be done automatically and charged to your credit card, exactly like a standard Uber ride
  • Uber TAXI is a new choice for Uber users. You can keep using all the Uber options exactly as you did before

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You probably have questions, so let us address a few of them.

Q: I hate SF taxis! Let me tell you a story about this friend of a friend I know who got in a taxi once and ended up with both kidneys and a spleen missing.

A: That wasn’t really a question, but fair enough. The good news is that TAXI is a new choice for Uber users. You can keep using all the standard Uber options exactly as you did before

Q: I can already call a dispatch number and get a taxi, or use a taxi app. What’s the point of Uber doing it? Were you guys bored this week?

A: Uber is not a dispatch service – it’s an electronic hail that goes directly to the closest open TAXI. The dispatch services and apps in SF mostly work with one fleet at a time, which we think is silly – you shouldn’t need to worry about which fleet your taxi is from.

Q: There aren’t enough taxis in San Francisco. Can you fix that?

A: We wish. There are only about 1,500 “medallions” (essentially permits) that allow taxis to operate in San Francisco. To put that in context, NYC has over 13,000. Until the SFMTA creates more medallions, it’ll still be tough to get taxi drivers to come pick you up during peak demand times (like Friday and Saturday nights or Halloween), but Uber Black will always have you covered if you can’t get a cab.

Q: How are you going to make a San Francisco taxi Uber? 

A: Here’s how.

  • Safety: For every Uber TAXI, we have the driver’s name, phone number, and scans of all taxi cards. These drivers didn’t just download a driver app – we interviewed all of them in person and showed them how to use the Uber system. These are existing taxi drivers already on the road and driving hundreds of passengers every week
  • Accountability: For the first time, you will be able to rate a taxi driver at the end of every trip. This will help us separate the diamonds from the rough over time. There are some amazing taxi drivers in this city and they get a bad rap. Now they’ll finally be rewarded for their skill and professionalism
  • Ease of use: Requesting, paying, and rating an Uber TAXI ride will be just like the Uber experience you are used to. The one thing to know is that promos do not apply to TAXI

Q: Fine, you convinced me. I just used Uber to get a taxi and I lost my favorite iguana in the car and need to get it back immediately. Help! P.S. The iguana’s name is Ralph, if that helps.

A: We can give you the TAXI driver’s phone number, but it’ll be up to you to resolve any issues that you had with the driver. If you need a higher level of service and responsiveness, we will continue to go above and beyond for Uber Black rides, as we always do.

We look forward to having you try out Uber TAXI. Don’t hesitate to reach out to supportsf@uber.com with any questions.

-Uber SF