• Switzerland's news in English
 

Tennis star Wawrinka test-drives Uber app

Published: 26 Jun 2013 12:18 GMT+02:00

Uber, a San Francisco-based company that developed the app, nabbed one of Switzerland’s top celebrities, tennis star Stanislaus Wawrinka, as its first customer on Wednesday.

The app allows customers to use mobile phones to book rides online with limousine companies and private drivers.

Uber has begun testing in Zurich its ride-share program, already available in more than 30 cities worldwide.

After convincing him to try the Uber app, the company showed on its website blog a photo of Wawrinka leaning against a Mercedes limousine with a tennis racket in hand.

The app lets customers pay by credit card, so no money is exchanged, and it incorporates a GPS that runs like a meter.

Riders pay a little extra but in return they get to ride in a limousine.

The touted advantage for limousine operators is they can maximize the use of their vehicles.

In a wrinkle designed to encourage good service — and good behaviour from customers — the app even allows drivers and passengers to rate each other.

“We certainly can’t compete with the local world-class chocolatiers, cheesemakers or mountain ranges,” the company says on its website.

“However, when it comes to travelling, we’ve got a hunch we can help the world’s most efficient transportation network become just a little more Swiss.”

Uber was founded as UberCab by three entrepreneurs, including the current CEO, Travis Kalanick, in 2009.

The company launched its mobile app a year later in San Francisco on iPhones and Android phones.

After being accused of illegal taxicab operation in San Francisco, the company in 2011 changed its name from UberCab to Uber.

The company claims it has hooked up thousands of drivers with hundreds of thousands of customers.

It expanded beyond North America to launch services in Europe, starting in Paris in December 2011.

It now also has apps for Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Lyon, Milan, Munich, Rome and Stockholm.

However, in some cities — Vancouver, Canada is one example — it has faced regulatory hurdles that have made it difficult if not impossible to operate, usually because regular taxi operators are opposed to the ride-sharing app.

It has encountered resistance in Italy and Sweden but continues to operate in those countries.

Uber suffered a blow this week when it received a “cease-and-desist” letter from the city of Los Angeles, along with two other ride-sharing app companies.

The city and one its taxi operators claims the companies are running “rogue taxis” that are “bypassing all safety regulations created to protect riders and drivers”.

Uber maintains that is simply using technology to match customers with existing services that are approved and registered.

In Zurich, the company acknowledged that its supply of cars “may be limited” during its testing phase.

“Rest assured that we’ll be adding cars every day until your private transportation experience is running as smoothly as the Swiss timepiece you’re wearing on your wrist.”

Uber also let slip that it is looking to hire a general manager for Zurich, plus a community manager for marketing, social media and support.

For more information email kundenservicezurich@uber.com

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Four skiers killed in Graubünden avalanche
Helicopters responding to the avalanche scene. Photo: Graubünden cantonal police

Four skiers killed in Graubünden avalanche

An avalanche in the canton of Graubünden claimed the lives of four skiers and injured three others at Piz Vilán in Prättigau on Saturday, cantonal police said. READ  

Pilot dies after small plane crashes in Geneva
Emergency services workers responded to the crash scene. Photo: RTS

Pilot dies after small plane crashes in Geneva

A 59-year-old man flying a small Piper aircraft died after the plane crashed on Friday in a field in Bernex, a municipality in the canton of Geneva, according to media reports. READ  

Tennis: Australian Open
Wawrinka runs out of steam against Djokovic
Wawrinka: "No battery." Photo: AFP

Wawrinka runs out of steam against Djokovic

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka put up a fight against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals on Friday but finally ran out of steam against the Serb who won in five sets. READ  

French teen dies in avalanche near Verbier
Photo: Valais cantonal police

French teen dies in avalanche near Verbier

UPDATE: A 17-year-old French girl died following an avalanche that on Thursday swept five backcountry skiers down a mountainside in the Vallon d’Arby area near Verbier in the canton of Valais, police said on Friday. READ  

Conductor dies during symphony in Lucerne
Israeli conductor Israel Yinon. Photo: Autonomous University of Zacatecas/YouTube

Conductor dies during symphony in Lucerne

Internationally known conductor Israel Yinon died in the middle of a symphony concert while directing an orchestra at the Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) on Thursday night, concert organizers said. READ  

Ammann back training after Austrian mishap
Photo: Slawek/Wikimedia Commons

Ammann back training after Austrian mishap

Switzerland's four-time Olympic ski jumping champion Simon Ammann returned to training on Thursday, just two weeks after suffering a serious head injury in a fall in Austria. READ  

Top court upholds death sentence — for a dog
A Hovawart dog (not the one involved in the court case). Photo: Faigl.ladislav/Wikimedia Commons

Top court upholds death sentence — for a dog

Switzerland’s highest court has upheld a death sentence, although it doesn’t apply to a human. READ  

Swiss expat population continues to expand
Image: FDFA

Swiss expat population continues to expand

The number of Swiss citizens livening outside Switzerland rose two percent in 2014 from the previous year to almost three-quarters of a million, government figures released on Thursday show. READ  

Property salesman jailed over gambling addiction
Photo: AFP

Property salesman jailed over gambling addiction

A real estate salesman who gambled away and otherwise spent several million francs obtained from client deposits and through other fraudulent means was jailed for five years by a Lausanne court on Wednesday. READ  

EU approves Novartis mega deals with GSK
Photo: Paivi Tiittanen

EU approves Novartis mega deals with GSK

The European Union on Wednesday approved mega deals involving drugmakers Novartis of Switzerland and GlaxoSmithKline of Britain, provided they sell off assets in the vaccines and consumer health businesses. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Sponsored Article
Avoid the costs of wild Swiss currency swings
Features
Anglophone expats in Switzerland mine creativity to earn crust
National
Number of 'immigrants' swells to third of Swiss population: report
International
Pricey Switzerland tops latest global cost of living study
National
Swiss travel agents and retailers cut prices after franc surge
Technology
Solar Impulse team unveils round-the-world route for sun-powered plane
Business & Money
Swiss central bank's shock move to let franc rise sparks debate
National
Markets panic as Swiss National Bank scraps euro rate cap
National
VIDEO: Swiss soldiers publish pictures of antics on internet
National
A portrait of modern Switzerland in ten stats
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Geneva-based expat pens seismic novel about Haitian homeland
Features
Tons of explosives finally removed from hundreds of Swiss sites
International
'Don't succumb to fear': Swiss President Sommaruga on terrorism
Sport
Federer claims historic 1,000th win at Brisbane tennis tournament
National
Swiss newspapers condemn deadly Charlie Hebdo terror attack
Business & Money
Hackers steal client information from Geneva cantonal bank
National
Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris sparks Swiss rallies
National
Pop star Madonna leaves her mark during Swiss mountain holiday
National
Disassembled Solar Impulse heads to Emirates in jumbo jet
National
US ambassador in Bern sparks flap over Swiss ski lift line 'chaos'
National
New President Sommaruga lauds 'bold' Swiss democracy
National
Hopes fade of finding missing Scottish researcher still alive
National
Scientists in Lausanne and Belgium step up search for alien life
National
Nude 'selfie' mayor heads Switzerland's top ten scandal list
Features
The Local's top ten snow sport alternatives to skiing in Switzerland
Culture
Suspected stabber Nabilla given conditional release from detention
International
Swiss hotel school grad 'hero' among Australian café siege victims
Business & Money
Switzerland cracks top ten list of best countries for business
Business & Money
Swiss National Bank imposes negative interest rates
Politics
Federal cabinet ministers rapped for accepting new limouisines
International
Swiss chocolate café at centre of hostage-taking drama Down Under
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Features
Exploring the 'most beautiful village' in French-speaking Switzerland
Business & Money
Italian thieves steal 260 tons of Swiss Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate
National
World's longest train tunnel — under the Swiss Alps — set to open in 2016
National
Porn film on video screen spices up fare at Swiss McDonald's restaurant
National
Masturbation scene in Swiss TV ad for Media Markt draws complaints
National
Cantonal lawmakers end 'happy hours' tippling in Vaud pubs and bars
Politics
Former concert pianist Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Culture
Jailed German art forger's paintings go on sale at Bern gallery
Business & Money
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Features
Long-time expats face dilemma: to be or not to be a Swiss citizen
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,168
jobs available