Uber Technologies Inc., the car- sharing service that lets people order transportation via a smartphone, is temporarily cutting fares on its taxi-like option to step up competition with New York City cab services.

The San Francisco-based startup reduced fares by 20 percent in New York for its UberX service, making it cheaper than a city taxi, the company said today on its website. The lower prices will be in place for an unspecified limited time.

Uber, which last month raised $1.2 billion at a valuation of about $17 billion, has faced regulatory hurdles around safety concerns and protests by taxi drivers’ lobbies in the U.S. and abroad. Traditional cab drivers worldwide say they are bound by rules that don’t apply to Uber’s smartphone-based service, putting them at a disadvantage.

The startup said an UberX ride from New York’s Grand Central Station to the Financial District would cost $22 under the new fares, compared with $24 for a city taxi.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jillian Ward in San Francisco at jward56@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Niamh Ring, Jillian Ward.

Tags: nyc, uber
Photo Credit: Uber's promo image of an Uber driver. Uber