Uber is one of the more popular new things over the past couple of years. I’ve read a lot about the benefits both of taking Uber for rides and driving for Uber as a way to make money. The articles and posts are many, and the topic has always interested me, but I never took the opportunity to experience Uber firsthand until earlier this month. I finally did and was really impressed!
Uber Here, Uber There, Uber Everywhere
While Uber has always interested me, I never had real cause to use it. I have my own car, and if I want to go somewhere, I just drive there. I surmised that many people probably use it as a way to go out and enjoy a few drinks, but at the age of 40 with two young kids, those opportunities are pretty rare, and sleep is often chosen instead even when the opportunity arises!
My sister-in-law recently started dating someone. He’s a fun guy and still enjoys going out, and he uses Uber all the time. He enjoys having a few drinks but is unwilling to risk driving, so he has been using Uber regularly for awhile. I’d heard about how he and my sister-in-law would go out from time to time and ‘Uber around’ and it piqued my interest even more.
Then, someone found out about a festival in the area that we all wanted to attend, and we made plans for the four of us to go. The festival is near a downtown area and had various food and drink booths set up, and was focused around whiskey and barbeque food. We made arrangements to drop off the kids at my parents so that we could attend, and it was a foregone conclusion that we’d Uber.
Here’s how it went.
- Change of Plans – My wife and sister-in-law both love the ‘rum runner’ from a place that happens to be on the way, so we decided to make a stop there on the way down.
- Checked Uber – My sister-in-laws boyfriend has the Uber app on his phone, and he brought it up to look for a ride. I wasn’t sure how it worked so he showed me. He was able to see that the nearest ride from our house was about 4 minutes away, and that you could see on a map exactly where they were driving in real-time. Cool! He called for the pickup.
- Called the Uber driver – Once he called for the ride, he got more information, including the drivers name, cell phone number, and the type of car. The car was a BMW, and he decided to call the driver to make sure that we weren’t going to get charged more, as better cars are often part of another class of service. The driver confirmed that he was working in the ‘normal’ rates.
- Four minutes later – Four minutes later, as promised, the driver pulled up to our house. We got in. The driver was a pretty nice guy, and asked if his car smelled OK, as his last pickup was a lady that worked at a restaurant preparing fish for lunch and dinner. We all agreed the car smelled fine! The drive down to the restaurant was about 15 miles, and took about 20 minutes. Once we got out of the car, the fare came up as $15.71, if memory serves.
- Down to the festival – After enjoying a round of drinks and an appetizer, it was time to go down to the festival. Another pop up of the app and we saw a driver about two minutes away. We quickly called for it and it pulled right up and let us in. It was a quick trip down the street, about 4 miles, and the fare was around $7.
- And later on back home – We stayed at the festival for a few hours, stopping at a couple of bars so that we could sit down as well (it was hot plus it rained some), and by 11pm, we were ready to head back. We actually called for one Uber, then cancelled it, because it was coming faster than we were ready for. My brother-in-law was worried that he’d get rated by the Uber driver. I haven’t confirmed whether or not that happened. Finally, when we were ready to go, another ‘call’ was made and we were zipping home within five minutes of the call. The driver took a detour on the way home due to some road construction that had the freeway jammed up, so it took a few minutes longer than we expected, but the fare was still just over $20. He and my sister-in-law had the driver stick around and they started another fare to get to his house, which I know went just fine.
Impressions of Uber
- Price – The price was awesome. Between the four of us, it cost just over $40 for three trips. No cab service in the world could beat that.
- Speed – In all cases, the speed of the pickup was incredible. It helped that all of the pickups and dropoffs are in areas that are well traveled, but given the fact that Uber has a potentially unlimited number of drivers, waiting was not a problem at all. Each of the drivers said that they chose to work that day, and did so because they knew the fares were out there and they’d keep busy.
- Drivers and Cars – All of the drivers were nice and all of the cars were in good shape and very clean. I believe that each driver was given 5 stars (apparently the rating system is very important ).
My Final Thought
The final thought that I want to put out there was one that I had early on in the night: I wish Uber had been out there back in my days of being single and going out.
Back then, going out was always more complicated because of the driving situation. We’d gather at someone’s house, and it always made sense to gather at the house closest to where we were going, which was sometimes a hassle because sometimes we’d be at the same persons house over and over, or other times people would have to drive a long ways just to get there. Then, you’d get there and you’d have to make the decision on what to do about going out. Call a cab, and it’s $70 one way, an hour and fifteen minutes, and guess what, it’ll probably be even longer when you call from your pickup at the same spot everyone is using. Lovely. So, then, you start looking around the group and see if anybody feels like not drinking that night, or worse yet, you find someone that says they’ll ‘just have a couple’ and hope that ‘just a couple’ sticks and even if it does, know you’re possibly taking a chance anyways.
Thankfully, back in our days of going out, nobody ever got in an accident and nobody ever got pulled over or anything like that, but I can’t tell you the number of times that we would have preferred not driving. Uber would have been perfect. It was affordable, at the ready, and reliable.
Overall, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Now, we probably won’t use it much, but even if we want to go out once in a while and know that we might each want more than a drink or two, it makes perfect sense to take Uber. It’d be silly not to!
Readers, what do you think about Uber? Any drivers or users out there?Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.