Uber, a mobile taxi application for iPhone and Android users, hit Madison Thursday, only a week after the rideshare app Lyft launched its rival service in the city.

Uber spokesperson Nick Anderson said its UberX cars allow students to share rides in Madison safely and at cost-efficient prices. Although pricing is based on the time and distance of the ride, he said Uber cars typically cost 20 percent less than other taxi cab services.

UberX is the company’s lower priced version of Uber that uses mid-range and hybrid cars that are not necessarily black. The base fare for an UberX ride is $5.75.

“Basically, when you request a ride you will see an element of safety added,” Anderson said. “You will see a picture of the driver who confirmed the ride, their license plate model and the car’s make and model.”

Uber uses GPS to track the ride’s route, as well as exact pickup and drop off times of each ride. A passenger can track when the car is scheduled to arrive by dropping a “pin” on the pickup location using the app. This way passengers will not need to wait outside while waiting for the car, Anderson said.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick launched the application in San Francisco in June 2010 out of frustration at his inability to find immediate taxi cab services on the roads late at night, Anderson said. He said the application has proven successful in 80 cities and 30 countries around the world since its founding.

“This application is about taking the pain out of the three P’s: price, parking and partying,” Anderson said. “For price, this is a really affordable way to get around town and instead of trying to find parking in crowded areas, you just have to show up and this is a really safe transportation option from the bar or wherever you are going on the weekends.”

UberX is doing a two week special for its launch in Madison. Anyone who uses the app in Madison will be able to ride with Uber 10 times for free for rides under $25.

UberX will be in full force in Madison in a few weeks, Anderson said, once the app hires more drivers and puts more cars on the road.

[photo via blog.uber.com]