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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.

Our Uber Experience

  • Change of Plans  – We made a quick change to our plans.  We wanted to stop at a favorite watering hole.  Why not?
  • Checked Uber – I got a quick tutorial on Uber.  I was quickly able to see that we had a driver near our house.  We locked in the pickup.  Easy!
  • Called the Uber driver – We then called the driver on the phone.   We exchanged some information on car type and our exact location. One thing we found is that we were getting a luxury car at the price of a regular ride.  Great!
  • Four minutes later – Four minutes later, as promised, the driver pulled up to our house.  We got in. 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.  Not bad.
  • 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.  The fare was around $7.  At this point, I was already an old pro.
  • And later on back home – The ride home was a bit more difficult to line up.  First we couldn't find a ride nearby.  Then when we did, it was too close and we hadn't finished paying the bill.  Eventually we got it straightened out.  The ride home was quick and easy.

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, it seemed like we had to plan around gathering at someone's house that was both nearby and that we had someone OK with being a designated driver.  Trying to line those things up were difficult at best sometimes.  Or you could try taking a cab, but those were $70.  And, good luck getting one within two hours!

mb-2015-07-clubThankfully, 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?