UberX rolls out price cut in California after regulatory win

The ride-sharing service tries cutting fares in Los Angeles and San Diego by 30 percent. If the lower prices increase demand substantially over the next two weeks, UberX will keep them low.

Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

After getting a regulatory win in California, Uber is ready to push for growth in the southern part of the state. Uber's ride-sharing service UberX announced Thursday that it's temporarily cutting its fares by 30 percent or more in Los Angeles and San Diego, in hopes of increasing rides.

The price cuts -- 30 percent less in Los Angeles and 37 percent less in San Diego -- will last for the next two weeks. If there is a substantial increase in rides, UberX will make the lowered fares permanent, according to Uber spokesman Andrew Noyes.

He said the different percentages for the price cuts account for "market differences." Under the new prices, a ride from West Hollywood to Santa Monica in LA would cost about $22, and a ride from Del Mar to downtown San Diego would cost about $45. The service, which allows users to order rides from their smartphones, launched in these cities last year.

Uber did a similar price cut for its UberX service in San Francisco in June. After a 25 percent cut, demand for UberX doubled in the city, according to Noyes.

The Southern California promotion comes shortly after the California Public Utilities Commission approved the first statewide regulations to oversee ride-sharing services. The rules were a first in the country and added legitimacy to burgeoning ride-sharing industry, which essentially lets individuals use their personal cars as taxis or for paid carpooling.

The new regulations, which set safety standards for the companies, also angered taxi drivers who say ride-sharing companies were undercutting their prices.

No doubt, these new UberX fares are another hit to the traditional transportation industry. With UberX making the first public push for growth in California, it will be interesting to see how competitors Lyft and Sidecar take their next steps in the state.

 

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