I use Uber all the time when I travel, and it’s always sort of a bummer to come back home knowing it’ll be weeks before I get to ride in another Uber towncar. Well, that’s thankfully no longer the case — according to a new post on the company’s official blog, Uber has just soft-launched in Philadelphia and now has a small crew of their tell-tale black cars cruising around the city.
And I do mean small — a quick look at the app tells me that at time of writing, there are only two Uber cars currently available to ferry around folks around Philly. As is the usually the case for Uber, they intend to use their so-called “secret phase” to collect data about demand for the service in the city in preparation for a larger-scale launch down the line.
With the addition of Philadelphia to the list, the on-demand car service is now live in 10 major cities, though those looking for a bit of a price break may come away a bit disappointed. While Philly arguably isn’t as complex a city to drive through as New York, both cities share the same fee structure (a $7 base fee to start, plus $3.90 per mile over 11mph and $.95 per minute at or below that speed). Still, there’s plenty of tweaking to be done before the service officially goes live, so you Philadelphians may notice those rates fluctuate for a bit.
Then again, if you’re contemplating using Uber in the first place, price probably isn’t your primary concern.
Uber likes to make a bit of spectacle out of their first rider in a new market (“Rider 0,” in Uber parlance) — previous first-riders included the likes of Canadian TV personality Ben Mulroney in Toronto, and the company enjoys telling the tale of how Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s parents beat out Edward Norton for the Rider 0 title in Los Angeles. The trend continues abated in the City of Brotherly Love, this time with VC Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital taking the service for its inaugural ride, clad in his Flyers cap and everything.
And as it turns out, he’s not the only one looking forward to more Uber rides in Philadelphia: