Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Visit With Uber

As part of our trip, we have used Uber three times:  once from the airport to the hotel and twice from the hotel to a local shopping area.  It is my first trip using Uber.

Without question, I will never use a taxi again wherever I am somewhere that Uber is an option.

1)  Pleasant Cars:  Every Uber car we have used has been clean and well taken care of.  No older model cars.  No nasty seats.  No random odors floating about.  No plastic wall between you and the driver, making you feel as if you are in a squad car.

2) The price is fixed:  We have not had to wonder how much the fare was going to be or how it would be influenced by time in traffic or a driver getting lost.  Up front, we have known exactly what we were going to pay.

3) No car transaction: I gather once you have the app and the payment card input, it is all handled electronically.  No waiting to run the car.  No having to make change.  Good heavens, you do not even discuss the transaction at all.  And certainly no "surprise" discussions about having to boost the price because of cash, distance, etc. (this happened to me in Miami once).

4)  Pleasant Drivers:  I am sure that this is not always the case, but we have had very good luck to date with our drivers.  Some are conversational, others are less so, but all of them have been several levels above most of my cab interactions - and , because the price if fixed, I never have to worry if they are taking me in the quickest way possible (honestly, they lose money if they take longer than they anticipated).

It would not have worked before - but the combination of satellite GPS, electronic funds, and cell phones and made the whole thing work smoothly and like clockwork.  I do not know that cabs will completely ever disappear, but I suspect their dominance as short term transportation will rapidly dwindle.


Rain said...

I remember the taxis in Montreal...some of them I refused to get into and I just waited for the next one. We don't have Uber up here but I'm glad you found something decent to use. They have something called "Commu-Auto" which is a car-sharing company, mostly in Montreal. Apparently people love it because the cars are always clean, you're the driver, and all the transactions are electronic. I vote for no human interaction lol... :)

Glen Filthie said...

Interesting, that's the second time I've heard this.

My buddy at work says they deliver pizza too. They will pick up your order, you can track their progress and their ETA is calculated almost down to the second. You can literally open the door to greet them when they arrive on your doorstep.

Call me a racist swine - I will not travel in a yellow cab ever again unless they have a clean cut white driver.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Rain - It really has been a wonderful thing. To be fair, for the first time we had a car that was a little less well kept than the others - but this driver made a point of asking us if she could go to her last drop off point and try to return something the previous passenger had left in the car. I cannot imagine a taxi service doing that.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Glen - You are thinking of Uber Eats. I have not used it, but I think co-workers have used a similar service with good results. If it's like Uber, it probably works well.

And yes, you are being a racist. One of the worst taxi scams I ever had was from a clean cut guy of my skin color that took me the very long way into Chicago. No guarantees based on skin color or accent or religion. It is the condition of heart that matters, and that we cannot see on the outside. Thinking such things based purely on the externals perpetuates the problem instead of solving it.

Glen Filthie said...

That's not been my experience, I'm afraid. As Rain says, once in Montreal I stopped and got out of a cab in Montreal and the Haitian driver thought he would go after me with a lead pipe. When I got it away from him I put a nice dent in his fender with it and offered to do the same to his head and he took off. And that was just Montreal. Vancouver and Toronto were always bad too but when it started happening here in Edmonton - enough was enough. I'll take my chances with Whitey, thanks.

I started using town cars and they were pricier but the drivers, even when they were vibrants - were much better behaved.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Town cars - is that an "upscale" taxi version? I wonder if at least in my own experience it is linked to the fact that with Uber they have the ability to get downlisted and eventually lose business where as in cab companies the drivers are largely anonymous - I can rate a cab company, not a cab driver.