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With Uber's Upcoming IPO It Seems That Ride-hailing Services Are Here To Stay

With Uber's IPO rumored to launch sometime within the next 24 months, it appears on-demand commuter services are here to stay. Autoblog's Eddie Sabatini reports on this edition of Autoblog Minute, with commentary from Autoblog Green's Sebastian Blanco.

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Mobile taxi service Uber has exploded in popularity recently, with major investments from Google and even partnering with the latest Transformers movie, but the meteoric rise has been tempered with controversy. In Europe and Asia, the app has sparked protests and has been legislated against to make it harder to use. The company's business practices are now falling under the microscope again, but this time it isn't coming from the old guard rallying against the upstart; instead competing ride on-

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Uber just can't seem to stay out of the news lately. Between troubles with cab drivers in France and a tragic crash in San Francisco, the ride-sharing app could use some good news for a change. Nope, not going to happen, though.

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An Uber car transporting execs for app company Eventbrite was attacked during a trip in Paris, indicating that the row between cab drivers and ride-sharing services could be heading to a rather dark place.

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On New Year's Eve, an Uber driver struck a family of three as they were crossing a San Francisco street. The driver, 57-year-old Syed Muzzaraf, turned into the crosswalk without yielding and struck six-year-old Sophia Liu, her brother and her mother, San Francisco District Supervisor Jane Kim told Autoblog's sister website, Tech Crunch. Sophia was killed and her mother remains in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital.

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In the middle of January, a new website aimed at getting people to car-share was launched over at PickupPal.com. The website's CTO, Eric Dewhirst, describes its carpooling model this way:

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If you live in the Bay Area and like to conserve resources (like, say, money and oil), perhaps ride sharing should be added to your list of transportation options. A free service called 511 Rideshare can help passengers and drivers find each other for daily commutes. The website can also help you find vanpool information, which is like carpooling on on steroids. Actually, considering the negative association steroids have these days, I'll say it's more like carpooling on a healthy vegan diet: s

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