What do you do if you're an international company trying to get around local regulation so your product can thrive in a new market? If you're Uber, you find loopholes in the law, then try to change it.
This weekend, from Thursday through Saturday, Uber will be offering its Uber X service in Tel Aviv for free. Unlike the normal services offered by Uber or its Israel-based competitor GetTaxi, through which users can order and pay for regular taxi cabs on their smart phones, Uber X offers rides by regular drivers in their regular cars.
The problem is that it is currently illegal for people without taxi driver licenses to accept money for giving rides.
"The way the current regulation is structured is that you can't transport people for payment," Uber Israel CEO Yoni Greifman told The Jerusalem Post. "So we're offering it for free."
The two day Uber X deal is a way to publicize the possibilities of ride-sharing, which Greifman says can cost up to 40% less than regular cabs, while offering people who want to pick up a little extra work a chance to make more money. The company--which is also offering subsidized cab rides through the end of the year to attract users--says it is not compensating the volunteer drivers in any way.