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This article was published on July 3, 2012

Taxis, black cars, hybrids, SUVs…Uber announces ‘freedom to choose’ for US and Canadian riders

Taxis, black cars, hybrids, SUVs…Uber announces ‘freedom to choose’ for US and Canadian riders
Paul Sawers
Story by

Paul Sawers

Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

Uber officially launched its private driver-for-hire service in London last week, and as we reported yesterday from this Wednesday, Uber-ers in San Francisco and New York will have the option of selecting one of its current range of black town cars OR a hybrid car.

Whilst ice-cream trucks are also on its radar at some point (seriously), Uber has now announced that it will be throwing the option of SUVs into the mix in cities across the US.

Seattle and Boston will be rolling out SUVs (sport utility vehicles) from tomorrow, July 4 2012, and Toronto will be getting the freedom to choose which vehicles come to collect them too, with costs varying accordingly.

The base fare will be substantially more, and will vary by city too, as you’ll see from its Toronto pricing chart here:

In related news, Chicago too will be getting an extra choice soon, and the Windy City will continue to sit alone as the only Uber city with the ability to book standard taxis (at standard rates), since this was first trialed back in April, as well as the normal black car option and SUV afforded to other cities.

Finally, San Francisco and New York will be getting – as expected – hybrid ‘UberX’ vehicles too. “Initially UberX will be invite only,” says Uber in its announcement. “It saddens us to not be able to give it out to everyone, but we want to make sure we can provide an Uber experience at every price point and as we increase our UberX supply, we’ll roll it out to more people. To get in on the UberX action, be sure to sign up for our waitlist.”

Uber carved a small niche for itself in the private driver-for-hire market, but with so much competition out there (Hailo, GetTaxiCabulous, Ride Charge, to name but a few), it clearly understands the need to diversify its offering and appeal to a bigger market.

It seems not everyone wants to travel in the same style. Don’t be surprised if London’s black cabs are reeled in at some point in the not-too-distant future for UK users, while all cities will likely have the same car options at some point in the future. We can expect more city-specific announcements over the next day or so.