A new transport service has arrived in Budapest – Uber

Photo : Uber
Józsefváros, tábla

According to Uber, the social ride search app already operates in 220 cities, 45 countries around the world – now it’s started operating in Budapest. The American developer behind the app, known for causing taxi strikes in several locations, talks about environmental benefits and a cheaper service. But opponents complain about the competitive disadvantage to taxi companies, and that non-professional drivers are not subject to the strict regulations of Budapest’s passenger transport industry.

Not exactly a taxi
Just like in many other big cities around the world, cars travelling more or less empty is a problem in Budapest. In response to this, an American firm developed a smartphone app, which helps non-professional drivers and passengers find each other. The app is easy to use, and you can even send mutual feedback regarding the service. Many believe the main aim is to connect passengers and non-professional drivers ‘directly’ to exclude more expensive taxi companies. The only problem is that the system pockets 20% after each trip, so although ‘directly’ might sound good, there is a strange contradiction behind the idea.
The idea is great, but there are several other apps delivering similar services for free. Registration with Uber begins by providing quite sensitive information – including bank card details. You even have to snap a photo of the bank card before even using the service. Then you can ask for a car: one of our friend’s tried without avail – the ride never arrived. We can still ascribe this to teething problems, but there are fewer channels for complaint compared to a ‘traditional’ taxi company.
Photo: Uber
Let’s not forget that although Uber does filter its drivers in advance, a mad driver or an accident could still well be on the cards – there have been such cases reported abroad. Although the car is, in theory, insured and self-proclaimed Raikkönens will sooner or later drop out of the system, we are still uncomfortable to be a lab rat.
Time will tell
In the fixed price UberX system, the base fare is 300 HUF; in addition to which, you have to pay 25 HUF/minute and 130 HUF/km which is still below taxi price.
All in all, the concept is not bad, but there are still question marks remaining – and we’re probably not alone in this opinion.