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UberX cuts fares by more than 15 percent in top US cities

The peer-to-peer car service says it's now cheaper to order an Uber with your friends than it is to take the bus in its US cities.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick at LeWeb 2013
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Uber has slashed its UberX prices again, making it the cheapest transportation option in the US, the company's CEO, Travis Kalanick, boasted in a blog post Thursday.

Ride fares are down between 15 percent and 34 percent in 6 of the 24 cities that have the UberX service. Uber's app lets users order a variety of car services -- including the peer-to-peer UberX -- from their mobile devices. Uber is testing these prices for the a limited time. If the prices work out business-wise, the company will make the fares permanent, like it did in San Diego and Los Angeles.

These latest round of cuts are for rides in Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Orange County, with a promise of 10 more cities to follow, including Minneapolis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Denver, Dallas, Baltimore, Sacramento, Calif., Tucson, Ariz., Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.

And across all of the cities where Uber is available, UberX is 26 percent cheaper than a taxi, according to Kalanick, and costs less than a public bus -- if you split the fare with a group of friends.

Kalanick gives some examples of fare totals for rides under the new fares: In Los Angeles, Beverly Hills to Santa Monica costs an UberX rider $15.83; in San Francisco, the Marina to the Financial District costs $10.35; and in Boston, Beacon Hill to Harvard Square costs $12.55.

The company has rolled out this fare slashing promotion shortly after another public outcry over its "price surging" policy. Price surging is when Uber charges extra for a ride because there aren't enough drivers to meet the demand. It goes into effect during the most popular times of the day and major holidays when people are ordering a lot of cars. For New Year's Eve, one rider claimed to pay $125 to go 2 miles during a price surge. The company also made headlines when it reinstated price surgesshortly after Hurricane Sandy.

Uber has no intention of backing down from its price surging tactic, but it's not afraid to lower basic rates to promote its service. Last year, Uber cut its UberX prices to compete with taxis.

Update, January 10, 11:28 a.m. PT: Added clarification that the fares are currently promotional.