We’ve told you a bit about what Uber is already, so the question is: should you use it over traditional taxi services? Here are some points to consider before making that decision.
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Easily accessible — Uber is available in over 65 countries and 350 metropolitan areas worldwide. Just download the Uber app, sign up for an account, and you’re good to go!
You’re in control — When you request an Uber car, you choose where you want to be picked up, where you want to go, and what general class of car you want to get you there (from what is available). That means no going into seedy neighborhoods or busy urban areas to meet or flag down a taxi. Plus, there’s no need to pay your driver when you get out — your credit card is automatically charged.
Get the need-to-know info — The Uber app will show you where your driver is and how far away they are from your pick-up or drop-off point. You can also see their (first) name, profile picture, license plate number, car type, and user rating. Uber will also send you a notification when your driver has arrived at the pick-up point. This means that you can be sure to get in the right car at the right time, every time.
Share a ride, save some cash — If you’re not in a huge hurry, you can use the “UberPool” function to request to be picked up by an Uber driver who is already taking on a ride from another user (if they have room available). You will have to wait until the other person is dropped off before the driver takes you to your destination, but on the upside, your fare will cost up to 50% less!
Keep an eye on your credit card balance — Uber’s prices depend on a number of factors, and can vary greatly as a result. Sometimes, Uber can be cheaper than traditional taxis, but other times, it can cost twice as much, or even more. This is especially true with surge pricing during high-demand times, such as holidays and weekends, where demand for Uber rides can outstrip the supply of Uber drivers and send the cost of Uber fares skyrocketing.
We’re on a tight schedule — Uber cars are usually faster and more reliable than traditional taxis, but that also means that their timing is tight. You will only have about 5 minutes to cancel a ride request to Uber should you no longer want one, in order to avoid a cancellation fee. In addition, Uber drivers will only wait about 2 to 5 minutes for you after they arrive. If you don’t show up, they may cancel your ride and drive off, leaving you with no ride and a cancellation fee to pay.
You can’t always get what you want — Not all tiers of Uber service are available in all locations. Usually, larger metropolitan areas will have more options, while smaller urban areas may only have access to Uber’s most basic services (UberX, or maybe UberXL too).
The bottom line: 8/10
Uber is a radical new idea that is changing the face of transportation worldwide. It’s easy to sign up for and use, and it’s available in many places around the globe. It gives passengers greater control by allowing them to select their service level and where they want to be picked up, as well as allowing them to track where their ride is and how long it will take to get them to their pick-up or drop-off point. In addition, passengers can see their driver’s info and leave anonymous feedback after the ride, so there is an element of accountability in the process. Finally, if you’re worried about money, you can split your fares with other Uber passengers, or even work for Uber yourself and make some money on the side!
Not everything about Uber is as relaxing as a Sunday drive, though. Uber is experimenting with some unique business models, and many of them often result in fares that are twice the price (or more) of traditional taxi fares. The trade-off, Uber says, is that their cars are quicker and more reliable than traditional taxis, but there’s a flip side to that benefit, too. Uber drivers are on tight schedules, so you have to be quick when cancelling a ride or meeting your Uber car for pickup, or else you’ll get dinged with cancellation fees, and maybe even lose your ride.
Finally, Uber has met resistance from taxicab companies and public transportation organizations in certain areas around the globe over licensing and safety regulations. As a result, its services aren’t available in some areas, or at least (more commonly) certain tiers of its services are unavailable due to Uber’s inability to get proper licensing for them.
All of this is to say that Uber is a great choice if you value your time more than your money, and don’t mind paying a little extra to get somewhere quickly and conveniently. And hey, you might even pay less for your Uber ride than you would a traditional taxi, depending on where you are and how far you’re going. Using tricks like promotional codes and fare-split carpooling can help bring down the cost of your ride, as well.