Penn Students Can Now Get Dirt Cheap Uber Rides

Uber has landed another deal with a Philadelphia-area institution and the new collaboration represents the company’s first partnership with an Ivy League school.

The company announced on Monday that Penn students, faculty, and staff now have the option to use the app for special promotions. This includes rider discounts for a limited time. All uberPOOL rides on campus between August 28 and September 3 will cost $0.99. The discount will automatically apply once the app is opened.

The company will also create a dedicated pick-up area at the Palestra that will include custom signage and in-app integration, similar to the set-up for Philadelphia’s 30th Street station. Major buildings on campus will also get streamlined in-app pickup points. If a rider inputs a particular dorm or academic building, the app will suggest a specific location to meet their driver.  Read more »

Uber Adds Tipping in Philly, but the Option Won’t Save the Company

Photos: Uber

On Friday, Uber’s new tipping feature rolled out to users in the Philadelphia region as part of the company’s “180 Days of Change” campaign, an initiative aimed at improving the experience for Uber drivers.

The campaign includes tweaks like shorter cancelation windows—drivers receive a cancellation fee if a rider cancels after more than 2 minutes, down from 5 minutes previously; and, drivers will no longer have unpaid wait-times—they’ll earn a per-minute rate if they wait for a rider, starting 2 minutes after arrival. But the new feature that’s got everyone talking is tipping, particularly because former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, refused to add the option, though riders begged for it for years.

Whether Philly riders choose to tip their Uber drivers or not, Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie, also director of the school’s Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation, offers three reasons why the tipping feature might not help Uber get the fresh start it’s looking for:  Read more »

Here’s Why Uber Rates Went Up in Philly This Week

Image via Flickr.

Beginning Tuesday, Uber riders in Philly paid higher rates for rides due to a new effort by the company to provide drivers with insurance should they get harmed on the job.

Pennsylvania is one of eight states involved in the pilot program led by insurance companies OneBeacon and Aon headquartered in the UK. Uber drivers in the state now have the option to buy the injury insurance that will cost them 3.75 center per mile and consumers an extra 5 cents per mile.

“We believe drivers should have a low-cost option to protect themselves and their families against rare and unforeseen accidents that prevent them from working,” said Uber spokesman Craig Ewer. “We are partnering to pilot an insurance product that allows drivers to access peace of mind for a few cents a mile, directly through the Uber app.”  Read more »

Uber to Pay Pa. $3.5M to Settle Dispute Over Illegal Operation

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

Before Governor Tom Wolf passed ridesharing legislation last November, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft operated illegally across parts of Pennsylvania. On Thursday, Uber finally agreed to pay $3.5 million to the state’s general fund to settle its dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission over its period of illegal operation.

According to the settlement agreement, the Commission originally imposed a civil penalty of about $11.4 million. Uber rejected the orders, claiming the Commission exceeded its jurisdiction by regulating its activities. The Commission maintains that it had jurisdiction over the company’s services, and Uber failed to obtain a license to operate between February 2014 and August 2014. The ridesharing company also allegedly operated for a month after a cease-and-desist order from PUC.  Read more »

Uber Unveils Subscription Service Test for Philly Riders

Uber app display during DNC in Philadelphia. | Photo by Fabiola Cineas

Uber app display during DNC in Philadelphia. | Photo by Fabiola Cineas

As if Amazon Prime, Spotify and Netflix subscriptions weren’t enough, here’s another service we might all be adding to monthly expenses soon: Uber just began offering Philly commuters a ride-sharing subscription service that will allow users to pay their fares up front, the Inquirer reports.

The rates may be significantly cheaper than your current transportation costs. Subscribers pay a monthly fee in exchange for a package of trips at reduced, flat fares. On UberX, subscribers can request a ride anywhere within a 389-square-mile area for no more than $4.49. With UberPool, the deal is even cheaper: You won’t ever pay more than $2.49 a ride. Package deals range from 10 rides for $5 to 40 rides for $20 over a month. And the fixed deals mean that surge pricing won’t ever interfere. Read more »