Uber announced on their blog today that they have rolled out their secret Uber drivers in Lyon today – the first passenger was Mickael Miro, a Lyon-based singer. This is Uber’s 2nd French city, and its 7th European city (London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Milan, & Stockholm). In fact, you” notice this is the first European country in which Uber has rolled out in a second city.
Uber has a tendency to do private beta testing with its early adopters – it is currently doing “Secret Ubers” in Milan & Detroit as well, and usually is their way of testing the market as well as tasting the waters before scaling up operations and bringing more drivers on board.
This comes at a pretty interesting point, as the French taxi commissions just announced they would be cracking down on smartphone-enabled ‘tourist chauffeurs,” as they call them. Perhaps it was the taxi commissions statement which pushed Uber to roll out more quickly, before the belt starts to tighten.
The story was originally picked up on TheNextWeb by Jon Russell, who pointed out that “CEO Travis Kalanick revealed this weekend that Uber is looking to quadruple its staff over the next twelve months.”
Will we be seeing Ubers in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseilles, Nantes, Grenoble and Nice soon? It’s not too likely – Lyon is the largest city outside of Paris (when including the suburbs), and it also has a large technology-oriented culture. With Marseille, Lille, and Toulouse as the 3rd, 4th, and 5th largest cities in France, it’s unlikely that Uber will roll out here anytime soon, at least before they role out in larger cities in Europe – Madrid, Rome, and Hamburg all sit on the top European cities by population list on Wikipedia, and lack an Uber presence thus far.
Just for your pleasure, here’s the latest single by Mickael Miro – it’s pretty awful.