Going Out

MONEY TALKS: Uber, Airbnb, and other disruptive innovations

The October 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine examined money in a variety of ways. From lemonade stands to last wills, plus upscale offices, cool currencies, and new economies that are challenging the old guard, it’s a wide-ranging assessment of the city’s portfolio is on newsstands until the end of October.  

As more people latch on to the idea that underutilized assets can be rented out for financial gain and the real estate industry becomes increasingly competitive, new models for doing business are disrupting established industries. Hattie Klotz offers a primer for negotiating the new guard.

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Uber 

What it is: Uber is billed as a “rideshare, taxi, and taxi alternative app.” It’s based in San Francisco, the heartland of the sharing economy. 

How it works: Download the free Uber app to your smartphone. Open the app and register with a credit card. Your location will appear on a map. Press ‘Request Uber’, choose the kind of car you want, and stand still. (Uber uses geolocation to establish your pickup location.) You’ll get a text message with car make, licence plate number, and photo of your driver. You’ll be able to see your car on your map as it approaches. When the car arrives, confirm your identity and hop in. No money changes hands at the end of the ride. Your driver will be paid directly from your Uber account. There’s no need to tip either, but you should rate your driver. Good ratings mean that he or she will get more rides. The driver will rate you too, so be nice. Various levels of service are available, depending on your city. UberX is the least expensive version, undercutting regular taxi fares, but it isn’t available in Canada. In Halifax, the company offers UberBlack (a luxury service); Montreal has UberTaxi; both are available in Toronto. UberTaxi and UberBlack use already municipally licensed cars, charging standard market rates or higher rates in times of peak demand (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve). “Quality is very important to what we do,” says Ian Black, general manager at Uber Toronto. “Whenever a driver signs up, we ensure an adequately high level of service and make an assessment of the driver and vehicle. This ensures that an Uber experience feels different to other offerings.”  (more…)