Prices for Uber’s most popular service have been slashed as the ride-share company looks to rebound from safety concerns involving their drivers and push back from taxi businesses.
Uber announced in a blog post Thursday that fares for UberX, which pairs customers with drivers using their own cars, will drop 25 percent for a limited time. The company, valued at more than $10 million, has become a popular way of getting around in part because of its cheap prices compared to traditional taxis.
The price cut comes less than two weeks after taxi drivers lined the steps of City Hall in Los Angeles to call for more regulation for Uber and other ride-share services such as Lyft and Sidecar.
Car-for-hire drivers aren’t subject to the same extensive background checks or licensed in the same way as taxi cab companies. As the rule-making process continues, Uber is faced against cab companies who have the support of a few Los Angeles City Councilmen.
“We’ve seen incidents where Uber riders right here in Los Angeles, as well as all around the nation, have been endangered,” Councilman Paul Koretz said in a statement. “Without regulation, these ride-sharing services should not be allowed to operate on our streets.”
Koretz and Councilman Gil Cedillo are backing a bill that would require ride-share operators to carry $1 million in insurance for drivers at all times, as well as complete regulated background checks on prospective drivers.
The bill’s announcement came after reports that an Uber driver allegedly kidnapped a woman in West Los Angeles and took her to a motel. Charges were not filed in the case because the victim gave police a fake address and didn’t return numerous phone calls.
Police said that some of the UberX drivers they have come across have criminal records, including a registered sex offender who was at LAX to pick up a 22-year-old woman traveling alone, an NBC4 I-Team investigation uncovered.
Uber said the price cut won’t affect drivers, and an end date on the fare reduction was not given.
"The more you ride, the more likely we can keep them this low!" according to the blog.
An email to Uber for comment was not returned by the time of publication.