Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

You might have seen Uber’s fleet of town cars roaming the streets of Chicago over the past month. The on-demand car service has been quietly testing in the city, and has officially launched in Chicago as of today.

Uber allows everyone to have a private driver through iPhone, SMS, and Android requests. The San Francisco-based company provides you with a driver from one of its fleet partners. Drivers are carefully selected and Uber ensures that they all have the proper licensing. Additionally Uber has implemented a rating system for its drivers so if his or her rating drops below a certain level the company will no longer work with that driver.

Requesting a car is easy. Just tell Uber where you are by using the mobile app or through text message and it will send the nearest driver to pick you up. You’ll receive a text message with an estimate arrival time and again once the car has arrived.

To add to the convenience of the service Uber will automatically charge your credit card when you’ve reached your destination. It certainly takes the headache out of guessing if your driver will accept credit or figuring out if you have enough cash for a tip, which is already included.

Your fare is calculated based on distance or time depending on your speed. When Uber is traveling over 11mph you’re charged a distance fee. Anything below 11mph is charged a time fee. For Chicago, the base fee is $7 and either $3.50 per mile or $0.85 per minute. It’s more expensive than hailing a cab, but it’s also more convenient, more comfortable, and more reliable.

Uber is currently in three other cities — Seattle, San Francisco, and New York — and plans to expand into Boston and Washington D.C. sometime this fall.

It’s nice to see a company take care of both its clients and drivers. While there are ample transportation options in Chicago some days just call for a premium experience. And let’s be honest, telling your friends that your driver is outside is pretty damn cool.

Welcome to Chicago Uber — we can’t wait to take your service for a test drive!

You can learn more about Uber on its website, or follow on Twitter @Uber_CHI.

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