Taxis, Beware: St. Louis to Get First App-Based Car Service, Carmel

jseattle on flickr
A driver for Uber, a car-hailing service based in San Francisco.
Uber popularized personal car services for the taxi-riding market. After launching on smartphones in 2010, the company has moved to 60 cities all over the world, quickly attracting millions of dollars from investors such as Google Ventures, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs.

Here's how ride-hailing apps work:

First, choose your car. Companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar offer several options at different price points, from a regular taxi to an SUV up to a high-end luxury car.

Then, tell your driver where to pick you up. The app tells you how far away your car is.

Once you've reached your destination, you don't need to pull out your wallet to pay. Uber requires a credit card number to be kept on file, and the company charges -- by the mile or by the minute, depending on how far you go -- to your card automatically. Drivers do not get tips.

It's hard to guess how much a ride will be since many of the car services change their prices depending on demand. For example, during a New York snowstorm, some of Uber's rates jumped from $25 to $175 because everyone wanted a car.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at

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