Basically, drivers use their own cars to pick up Uber customers. The benefits are that the nearest driver picks you up so you should have a shorter wait time because drivers aren’t being dispatched from one central location which may not be anywhere near where you are. And it’s (supposedly) cheaper than booking a regular taxi- I guess because Uber don’t have to buy cars and the drivers aren’t contracted to them in the usual way.
It’s one of those modern-technology-embracing schemes that can use your phones GPS to find you and the nearest driver. You can watch the driver get nearer to you on your map and they text you when they are about to arrive. Once you’ve registered and entered your credit card details you don’t need to worry about paying the driver as it automatically deducted from your account and you are emailed a receipt.
The whole procedure was painless and I think it did work out as being cheaper than a taxi, I wouldn’t say cheap though (I think it was about £15 for 5.5miles and an online taxi fare finder estimates $31 or about £20). The main benefit was being about to do it online through boyfriend’s magic phone which was very helpful in a foreign country when you don’y know a good taxi company to call.
Regular taxi drivers have been less excited by the emergence of Uber, and in London threaten to cause mass congestion in protest over the Uber’s use of an app to calculate fares which they argue is illegal in private vehicles. I would imagine it has more to do with a threat to the jobs of the taxi drivers than the app. And the current Uber drivers might want to watch their backs too as the Chief Exec has said he wants to replace the drivers with driver-less cars which sounds terrifying!