Uber has launched a new ride-sharing app for commuters in Fukuoka, Japan's sixth-largest city.
The service, called "Everyone's Uber," is significant because Uber's entry into Fukuoka is the company's second city in Japan, after Tokyo. It also marks the 282nd city people can access Uber around the globe, according to the firm's research partner, Kyushu University.
Uber's paid-for taxi service is active in Tokyo, but during the data-gathering pilot, passengers in Fukuoka won't need to pay. The pilot phase started today at 10:00 a.m. JST.
Kyushu University will analyze the data collected through the service as part of a research initiative into mobility and transportation, Uber said Monday.
Fukuoka City was named a special economic zone for startups in 2014, where companies and universities are encouraged to launch renewable energy and energy-saving pilot programs.
"We have long admired (Fukuoka's) vision to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, led by Mayor Takashima, which ultimately creates more employment and business opportunities," Uber said in a company statement. "With a young, growing population that is economically active, the energy in the city means people are constantly moving around the city, making Fukuoka the ideal place for Uber's first ridesharing pilot in Japan."
Everyone's Uber service is limited to Fukuoka City and immediately surrounding locations like Kasugashi, Shimemachi, and Kasuyamachi, according to Uber.
Commute time to a specific destination must be less than 60 minutes and users can't take more than five rides in one week. Those who are interested in the Everyone's Uber service has to sign up on the Uber app with a valid credit card, even though the pilot program is being offered for free.
The San Francisco-based company has grown into one of the world's largest startups the past couple of years. Currently the company is valued at $40 billion, with operations in 54 countries around the globe.