Mobile private car hailing app Uber has launched in Istanbul today. In an e-mail released to the press, the company announced that they have started with UberBLACK, the high-end luxury limo service, in the city.
Sinan Güler, a national basketball player has been the ‘Rider Zero’ for Istanbul launch, hailing a Mercedes S Class with a private driver via the app in Turkish. The company says during the test phase there will be limited availability, so receiving a black Uber car may require a few tries.
We have learned that the initial fleet of Uber Istanbul consists of 100 black cars, but today 10 of them are on the roads with Uber-employed drivers on the wheels. The initial (base) price is 11.20 TRL ($5.25) adding 3.09 TRL ($1.45) per kilometer. Minimum fare is set to be 20 TRL ($9.37). The prices will be discounted for the month of July.
Istanbul is the last of Uber’s additions to its MENA cities. It has launched in Riyadh a month ago.
Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber, has said only last December to Webrazzi that they were not planning to enter the Turkish market. Rumours have surfaced a few months later that the company was examining the opportunities in the country.
Update: We have also learned that Uber has leased the initial fleet directly from Mercedes Benz Turkiye. We expect the company to add drivers with own cars to the fleet in the upcoming period.