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Need a private driver tonight? You can keep one in your pocket, thanks to UberCab, the mobile app for on-demand town cars that just launched in Los Angeles after hit debuts in San Francisco and New York.

It?s about time: Here, unlike in lots of major metropolises, you can?t just stick your hand out for a taxi. So next time we?re planning a wine picnic at the Hollywood Bowl, we?re tapping this app and skipping the parking nightmare.

To order a town car, text your address to UBR-CAB (827-222) or use the UberCab iPhone or Android app. Cars usually arrive in 5 to 10 minutes; you?re told how long to expect when you book.

Rates are slightly higher than cabs ($8 base fare plus $3.50 per mile versus $2.85 base fare plus $2.70 per mile for Yellow Cab), but this service?s ease warrants the price: Tips are included and everything?s done via mobile phone.

UberCab has flat rates for airport rides: LAX to Hollywood, for an example, is $85. Since we?ve previously paid almost that much to sit in a (un-air-conditioned, mind you) cab in Friday afternoon traffic, it?s worth a couple extra bucks to use UberCab and skip the taxi line outside baggage claim.

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