Uber Is Winning Over Americans’ Expense Accounts

In New York, the country’s largest taxi market, Uber still has a relatively small foothold. Twenty-one percent of expensed ride went to Uber, versus 79 percent to taxis. Progress has also been slower in Chicago—from 8 percent last year to 25 percent this year—suggesting that Uber faces more of an uphill climb in cities where yellow cabs are omnipresent and woven into the fabric of daily city life. An Uber spokeswoman would not comment specifically on the Certify report.

Uber has added several features catering to businesses in the last year. The company teamed up with American Express, a credit-card favorite among corporate finance departments, in June 2014 to book rides using reward points. A month later, Uber introduced a new service, called Uber for Business, that lets companies set up corporate accounts and allows employees to charge their rides directly to employers. The Uber spokeswoman would not say how many businesses are enrolled in the program, but said “hundreds of businesses” join every week. Uber worked with Starbucks, the most expensed restaurant by employees using Certify in the first quarter, and United Airlines, the third-most expensed airline, on new versions of their apps, with ride-hailing buttons, that rolled out in August.

The Certify study also uncovered a data point your boss will appreciate. The average ride in an Uber—a category that includes the low-cost UberX service, in addition to the pricier black car and SUV variations—costs $31.24, while the average fare for a taxi, shuttle buses, or limo was slightly higher, at $35.40. “Across business travel we have seen the strongest growth on UberX, our lowest cost option,” says Max Crowley, who manages the Uber for Business program. “Employees recognize the value of riding with Uber and are saving their companies money in the process.”

Update, 12:27pm: Adds comment from Uber manager in the last paragraph.