Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Tue April 07 2015

More U.S. Business Travelers Choosing Uber Over Taxis

Business Travel | Patrick Clarke | April 07, 2015

More U.S. Business Travelers Choosing Uber Over Taxis

As ride-sharing service Uber continues to make its way into the mainstream, its popularity is soaring among business travelers. 

According to expense management system provider Certify's latest report on business expense trends, nearly half (46 percent) of the ground transportation rides by its users during the first quarter of 2015 were made with Uber. 

That figure is staggering considering it stood at just 15 during the same quarter in 2014.

"While we often see noteworthy market shifts — leading restaurant chains and hotels exchanging leadership positions, for example — it is unprecedented to see one vendor grow to take such a commanding market share within one year's time," said Certify CEO Bob Neveu via Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press.

In several U.S. cities, Uber has surpassed taxi rides as business travelers' preferred means of ground transportation.

For instance, in San Francisco, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of rides expensed through Certify during the first quarter were made through Uber, with the remaining 29 percent calling on other means.

Meanwhile, Uber accounted for 56 percent of rides expensed through Certify in Dallas. 

Other major cities where Uber has emerged as a popular choice include Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., with 49 percent of road warriors looking to the ride-sharing service in those locales.

Despite the eye-catching numbers, Uber is still the underdog in some other metropolises, including in New York, Miami and Chicago, in which taxis, limousines and shuttles account for 75 to 79 percent of rides expensed through Certify. 

But while the shift to Uber has been a convenient one for many business travelers, it's also raised concern among companies regarding issues like safety and liability.

"Big limousine or airport shuttle companies carry insurance; individuals moonlighting as drivers don't always," writes Mayerowitz. 

There's no denying the concern for employers when it comes to "duty of care," as Global Business Travel Association executive director Mike McCormick calls it. However, it remains to be seen whether those growing concerns will slow down or stall Uber's rapid rise to the top of the market. 

"The business community is looking for value and convenience, and at the same time this is a group that is interested in innovation," said Neveu. "Ridesharing services are making inroads into corporate budgets because they combine all of those things."

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