Cab Companies Worried About App-Based Competitor - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Cab Companies Worried About App-Based Competitor

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by Todd Walker

NASHVILLE, Tenn - Nashville residents and visitors may soon have a new, upscale, option for a night on the town instead of taking a cab.

A smartphone app called "Uber" has caused quite a stir for local cab companies.

The app calls a private driver in a luxury car to your location and takes you away in minutes, much like a cab. It is more expensive than a cab, but the service has proven very successful in larger cities. Cab companies and drivers in Nashville said they are worried the service will create problems for their bottom line.

Uber contracts with existing limo companies and drivers, so it is not regulated like cab companies. Taxi companies said it puts them at a distinct disadvantage.

Melinda Grant is the manager for newly founded Green Cab, which operates an all hybrid and alternative fueled fleet.

"It took us almost two years to get up and running," Grant said. "We had to get our permits through the Transportation Licensing Commission."

Nairi Hourdajian, a spokesperson for Uber in San Francisco, said the app is all about technology.

"There's a really important distinction to make here," she said. "Uber is a technology company, not a transportation company the way a taxi company is, or a limo company is. We're simply the connector."

There are still some laws in place that are keeping Uber from entering the Nashville market. Currently, limo and private drivers must charge at least $45 for a ride, and it must be booked at least 30 minutes in advance.

Uber bases its pricing off of distance traveled, and passengers are picked up in minutes.

The company said it has been working with city leaders to change that, and hopes to be up and running in the next few weeks or months.

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