Gone are the days of having to stand outside, sticking your hand up, and hoping that a cab driver likes your face and stops for you. Gone are the days of haggling with the cab driver over the price. Gone, gone, gone are the days of the traditional cab industry as we know it.
Technology has revolutionized everything we do. From how we communicate, to how we are entertained, and even how we mix on the ones and twos! That being said it would only be logical that cab rides would also change with the times. Those internets and computery thingys has changed the world!
Enter Uber, the super cool “personal driver” that we all can have with the swipe of our fingertips.
In case you have been living underneath a rock, and don’t know what Uber is, allow me to summarize it for you. It is an application that you install on your smart phone, you provide them with your credit card information, and it will be saved. When you need a cab, you bring up the app, enter where they should pick you up, and where you are going. Then, voila! Someone will show up at your location and take you to your destination. The financial aspect of the transaction happens via the app, on your phone. No cash is ever physically exchanged. That is it in a nutshell. Simple right?
I have spoken to several drivers, and they all love Uber. As cab drivers in a city like New York, safety is a major concern. Cabbies have often been targeted and robbed, even murdered in the past. One of the drivers told me that she had issues in the past with passengers refusing to pay, and really, what can she do? Others would only pay what they want to pay. Other times she mentioned that she’d pick up less than savory individuals, and be afraid for her safety. Other times, there were no customers at all.
Uber eliminates all of those concerns. It grants these guys the flexibility to work when they want to, and as I mentioned, the financials all happen automatically, set prices and there is no debating. You also have the extra added layer of comfort in knowing that the person you are picking up is vetted to some degree. Of course this doesn’t eliminate all the dangers they face on the road, but the general consensus among the drivers is that they feel much safer, and they love working with Uber.
As a customer, I love the setup. I have used it for months now, and I think it is amazing. A driver is usually available within a few minutes, and they are always pleasant, and comfortable rides. The cost of the rides is a bit expensive, but if you do the math, with tips and so on, they are competitive.
I have never had any major issues with the company. There was only one time that a driver could not find my address, and he said I was a “no show,” which dinged me with a $10 charge for not showing up. I was there, he simply couldn’t find my location, so you know I wasn’t having that! I dropped an email to Uber, specifying that the guy never made it to my address and that I would like a refund. I didn’t get a response, so I turned to my ever reliable twitter account, and within moments I had the money refunded to my account. That was the only problem I ever had, and it was addressed fairly quickly once I tweeted them.
Prices increase during bad weather, but that is the same as a regular cab. It is just part of the game that we all play. Supply and demand folks.
Overall, I love Uber, and I’m glad the service is available. Traditional cabs, and the owners of those companies do not like Uber, they feel that they are bypassing rules that others cannot. I’m not extremely familiar with the rules of the medallion, etc, but I am of the belief that the old school folks who have a monopoly on any business will always resist change. This was the same with the music and video industry. Now, everything is streamed. Times change folks, it’s time to hand over the torch and accept that your days are gone. Or adapt with the changing environment.
I love Uber, it has made my family’s life much more convenient. What is your experience with Uber?
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.