BEIRUT: Instead of hailing a service taxi on the street or calling a local cab company, Beirutis can now ping a driver for a quick ride with the launch of the Uber app in Lebanon Friday.
Based in San Francisco, Uber is a transportation network covering cities in more than 40 countries, connecting passengers to roaming drivers.
Users push a button on the mobile app that links them up with drivers in the area through an in-app map. Payment is made through a credit or debit card linked to users' Uber accounts, with an additional option of splitting the cost of the trip between passengers directly on the app.
A suited-up chauffeur driving a luxury car will open the doors for passengers and drive them to select destinations in the city.
Uber is offering special summer prices in Beirut until Aug. 31. As a part of the startup’s promotion package, the “UberLovesBeirut” promo code will give passengers their first ride for free, up to $20.
MTV’s “Min El Ekhir” host Pierre Rabbat was one of the first users of the app, ordering a car early Friday morning.
The season two winner of “Dancing with the Stars,” Daniella Rahme, followed suit, booking her first Uber ride from Saifi Village.
Uber can be downloaded via the App Store on iOS and Android.
With available in-app profiles of both drivers and passengers, the chauffeur will have access to information concerning the passenger’s home as well as their favorite hangouts.
Passengers and drivers may also rate each other based on their experience.
Still in testing phase, Uber is working on getting more drivers on the road, so users may experience limited availability.
The service is available in five other cities in the Middle East, launching in 2013 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jeddah, Doha and Riyadh.
Uber made its 2009 debut in the United States, catapulting to instant success for providing citizens with transportation services that are less expensive than metered taxi cabs and available all hours of the day.