In 2012 Uber, an on-demand private driver app, launched its services in Dallas. I met with them as they were looking for several charities to connect with and get the word out about their Black Car services. They gave me gift cards to put in charity event favor bags giving guests $100 of Uber ride credit. I distinctly remember thinking to myself “no one is going to use an app to call a car service and get in a random black sedan”. Boy was I wrong. Today, guest blogger, Pete Foster, assesses all of the Uber car options (there are four) and gives us an honest opinion.
And don’t forget, now there is Uber Eats. xoxo – Tanya
The Uber Experience
Have you heard a lot about the Uber ride service but hadn’t tried it because you didn’t know enough about it? Perhaps you were uncertain of how it worked or what quality of service you’d receive. I recently had to take my car in for service so I explored what Uber had to offer. I was very pleased with the result. Here’s the story:
First I had to decode the various types of Uber service to know which one to order. There are four Uber services: Uber Black, Uber XL, Uber Select, and Uber X. Here’s the Uber service descriptions:
Uber X – the least expensive service, provided in a “normal” kind of car. Hondas, Fords, Toyotas, Chevys or Dodge sedans are quite common. The cars are less than 10 years old, owned by the drivers, can carry at least 4, and are very clean.
Uber XL – if you are traveling with a group, up to 5 others, XL is the way to go. Here the vehicles are luxury SUVs or mini-vans and, again, driver owned. They have room for 6 guests.
Uber Select – a more expensive service. The car that will pick you up – Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Caddy or the like is more upmarket. More luxury, a little more cost, typically a more upscale driver/owner and can it carry up to 4 passengers comfortably. I have had such great service with Uber X that I’ve only used Select once.
Uber Black– the Uber service that is intended to compete with private limos. The drivers have a commercial license, commercial insurance and provide pictures of their vehicle to Uber which must be fairly new – I’ve never been in an Uber Black older than one or two years old. Also, they are usually, if not always, black. When ordering, you can specify if you have up to 4 riders or if you need an SUV. For a trip to the airport, expect to pay about 50% of a private limo.
There are a couple of other Uber services. There is the Uber Pool service in a few cities – it’s a rideshare service being test marketed to be even lower cost. Then there is something called “Surge” pricing. Surge pricing is for special events where the Uber prices have surcharges applied due to abnormally high demand. NFL football game, concerts, conventions, NASCAR races, etc. would cause Surge pricing. But, even though I hear charges can double, triple or more they still seem reasonable for the circumstances. You will see a charge estimate and must agree in advance to Surge pricing.
Using Uber is pretty easy. From your smart phone, download the Uber app (application) from your App Store, install it, and then go through the set up. It isn’t hard, but any convenient teen can really make it easy! Put in your home and work address then put in a credit card and you’re set.
To order a car, open the Uber App and choose which service you want to use on the slider bar at the bottom of the map. Set the pickup location and the app will show you how long you will have to wait for the car. Enter your destination and you can get an estimate for the fare and to confirm your order. The app will keep you updated on the arrival of your car, tell you the type of car you can expect, and the driver’s name. The driver also knows your name to make it easier for him to find you. Once you’re in the car, you can tell the driver your preferred route, or he can follow the directions his phone gets from his Uber app. When you arrive at your destination, the app will automatically charge your credit card and shortly after, send your phone the charges and ask you to rate the driver and the service. The fare includes the tip.
In my case, I used Uber six times during the time my car was in the shop. I met interesting drivers – all could carry on a good conversation – in English. The cars were very clean and comfortable. I thought the service was so good, even though the tip was included in the fare, I gave the drivers a bit more. If you can’t already tell, I will use Uber again and I recommend it to my friends – at least those with smart phones.
Have you tried Uber? Leave a comment below about your experience and which car you request.
About Pete Foster
Peter Foster is an avid technologist, engineer and fan of US space operations. He has over 25 years’ experience as CEO of technology companies, 12 US Patents, has co-authored a book on speech recognition and is an instrument-rated private pilot with over 2500 hours.