(New York Times) – When the car service Uber and its competitors make news, it is usually for something like the raucous protests against them by cabdrivers across Europe, or for bizarre incidents like the (now-former) Uber driver who reportedly took a passenger on a high-speed chase this week in Washington.
But the future of urban transportation is being shaped this summer not through these types of flashy developments, but with seemingly unrelated announcements involving economic concepts like demand elasticity and dynamic pricing, and the all-important (noneconomic) concept of fuzzy pink mustaches.
You might have to squint to see it, but the economics of how people get around is on the verge of big changes, and a battle is brewing over who will be America’s chauffeur and what company will get rich along the way.
The biggest development has been Uber’s announcement that it is slashing prices for its UberX service in dozens of markets in the United States and abroad. (UberX is the company’s cheaper, more entry-level transportation offering — think a Nissan Sentra driven by a moonlighting grad student rather than the Lincoln Town Car driven by a seasoned professional offered by the company’s Uber Black service.)