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Uber now outpacing taxis on expense reports, says Certify

If Uber for Business were its own city, it would be the ride-hailing service's third fastest growing market, according to Uber itself.

From Evernote to Dropbox, plenty of coming-of-age tech darlings are spinning out standalone business units to drive up revenue.

Another one speeding up its own pursuit is the simultaneously sought-after and reviled ride-hailing service, Uber.

The San Francisco-based company was said to account for nearly half of all total paid car rides in the United States during the first quarter of 2015, according to a new report from travel and expense management provider Certify.

That vertical includes taxis, shuttles, limousines, and other ride-sharing apps such as Lyft and Sidecar, among others.

Demonstrating how fast Uber has picked up the pace in one year (not to mention instill fear in anyone involved in the traditional taxi and limo industries), Certify found Uber accounted for roughly 46 percent of all total paid car rides last quarter, compared to just 15 percent during the first quarter of 2014.

But Certify suggested that managers should actually be pleased by these turn of events in the long run -- or as long as Uber rates remain the way they do. The average Uber ride rang up to $31.24, slightly more favorable than an average of $35.40 for taxis.

Uber has stepped up catering to business travelers over the last year.

Aside from just flaunting the lower rates through the cheaper UberX line or carpooling with Uber Pool, Uber has established some corporate-friendly tools for streamlining expenses and enforcing in-house policy trips during pre-assigned business hours.

Execs at the San Francisco-headquarters operation appear to recognize the surge in popularity among corporate clients.

"We did not participate in Certify's research, but our own data confirms that more companies and employees are turning to Uber for their travel needs - in fact, if Uber for Business were a city, it would be our third fastest growing city of all time," boasted Uber reps in a blog post on Tuesday.

Certify's report honed in on larger metropolitan markets, including but not limited to New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Uber also highlighted most employees tend to select and expense UberX rides more than 70 percent of the time, saving an average of 30 to 40 percent per trip.

Nevertheless, some corporate departments -- namely IT -- might still have reservations about Uber -- namely in how it handles data management and security breaches.

In February, the San Francisco-headquartered company revealed its databases had been compromised last year, then waiting several months before alerting impacted drivers.

Uber discovered the "one-time" incident of unauthorized accident in September 2014, although the breach was said to have taken place last May, according to a memo.

To tune up those departments, Uber recently hired Joe Sullivan away from Facebook as its new (and first) chief security officer.

At Uber, Sullivan will be tasked with spearheading cybersecurity and safety efforts on a data infrastructure supporting millions of trips per day across 300 cities in 56 countries.

As this momentum seemingly never stops growing, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick insisted in a blog post at the time that Uber is no longer simply "just an app" but a critical part of the infrastructure of cities.