Dealing with taxis might be a complete pain in the back. Have you ever wondered why are taxi drivers constantly among the least trusted professions? I certainly have my own share of overcharged taxi rides, filthy taxis and hopelessly lost drivers. What about long lines at the taxi stand or a disappointed driver when you are going just couple of blocks? And it just gets better – imagine yourself a bit lost in an empty street in some foreign city with no taxis in sight whatsoever. Or when you need to order a cab at 4AM for a trip to the airport in a country where English is not widely spoken… I could carry on and on with this rant and I am sure you could come up with your own ideas for improving the taxi industry, couldn’t you?
And now imagine that you could solve all the above problems and some more with an app in your smartphone.
I can tell you, that I am done with taxis. As long as there is Uber available in the city where I am at the moment, I have no reason to sit into the traditional cab any more. With few on the screen I am taking Uber instead, literally within minutes.
What is all the craze about?
Uber has revolutionized the whole taxi industry for the benefit of us, the customers. It in essence provides much superior service and better cars at rates that are either the same, or cheaper, than taxis.
- No need to explain where you are going to the driver.
Or where you are - to the operator on the phone. This is priceless in any foreign city or country. Simply pick the starting and destination points on the map and off you go.
- You know approximate cost of the journey before you book it.
The final price can vary if there is heavy traffic en route but during normal conditions you know your maximum cost. This is called the Uber fare estimate. And since you can check the route on the screen, driver can't take any longer detour in order to charge you a higher price.
- Uber does not accept drivers with old cars.
There are different levels of service that you can choose but even the least expensive one (UberX) is adequate. When you request an UberX, you will be picked up in a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Mazda3 sort of cars. Other services – UberXL, UberSelect or the top UberBLACK give you opportunity to order newer/bigger/fancier car if you wish.
- You can see the details about the driver and the car in the app.
You can check the driver’s location on your screen. The Uber app shows you exactly where about the car currently is and it gives you its arrival in minutes. You can even text or call the driver to confirm.
- No need to search for cash or card at the end of your journey.
Your Uber account is linked to your credit card and the payment is automatic after you approve it. A receipt arrives in your e-mail shortly. It even includes the map of your trip.This is just impossible with traditional taxis.
Uber has exposed how outdated the old taxi business was and how much better the customer service could be.
Are there any downsides?
- Uber has been criticized for the treatment of its drivers. They are extremely dependant on good ratings from the customers. There is some uncertainty regarding insurance and some say that it is very difficult to pull decent profit.
- Supply and demand surcharge system during peak hours is used. This can raise rates as much as 3 times the normal rate. During big sporting events or NYE, you could be paying even $100 for a ten mile ride. However, you have to agree to the surge charge before you order the car.
- Uber also tends to ignore local bans and speculates that the laws will change eventually.
All in all, Uber is a much welcomed service for the customer. Hopefully it will roll out constantly to new cities around the world. Its success depends mainly on mouth-to-mouth marketing. Therefore the existing customers can recommend it to new users and both get a free ride.
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