Uber Car, the Best Thing Since Your Buddy Used to Pick You Up All the Time

UPDATED: While I still find Uber to be a wonderfully innovative idea, I would be remiss not to state that I very much judge a company on its corporate atmosphere and not just the end product and bottom line. To that end, we don’t use Uber anymore after the multiple sexual assault / discrimination allegations that have been revealed about the company. Several alternatives are already falling into place, which I’ll leave for you to research on your own.

Last night we gave Uber Car a ring.

If you haven’t heard, Uber is sort of like a taxi service. But so much better. Pittsburghers who’ve ever tried calling Yellow Cab will know full and well that it’s a pain. Here’s the typical process for getting a cab in Pittsburgh:

  1. Call a dispatcher.
  2. Wait five minutes for them to pickup.
  3. Tell them some very specific information which you may or may not know, like cross streets and exact addresses.
  4. Wait twenty to forty-five minutes for the cab to show up.
  5. Have the right amount of cash to pay the cabbie, or get rude looks from him when you ask to pay with a credit card.
  6. Tip the guy for all of this rudeness and slow service.

If the bars are letting out on the Southside, increase all wait times by a factor of ten. It more or less sucks, and public transportation in the city isn’t available at times when many folks need a ride: after having a few too many beverages.

Uber Car to the Rescue!

Now, here’s the process for getting an Uber Car:

  1. Open their app on your phone.
  2. Click a button to more or less auto-locate where you are (or where you’ll be).
  3. Type in where you’re going, just like you’d do a search on Google Maps or Yelp.
  4. Wait about two minutes.
  5. Everything gets paid for via a credit card you have on file with your account, no money or credit cards are handled in the car at all.
  6. There’s no tip involved either, Uber drivers get paid what they get paid.
uber car app screenshots
Some screenshots from Uber. On the left, you can see where available Uber cars are with proximity to your pickup location. On the right, some info on how quickly a car can get to you. In this case, I hadn’t entered in a destination yet, or they would have provided a fare estimate, too.

Why Uber is Better than a Taxi

Uber Taxi
Cost Except for at peak times, Uber is typically 30% or more cheaper. $12 was the average for our 4.4 mile ride (taken twice, both ways). The same ride taken via taxi cost $16. Business Insider has a video comparing the two services and explaining Uber Car’s “Peak Times”, when they increase rates to try and get more drivers on the roads.
Car Our first ride was in a brand new Dodge Charger. Our second ride was in a beautifully clean Prius. Some yellow mini-van or dirty old taxi.
Convenience The Uber app shows you a picture of the guy who’ll be picking you up, and how long it’ll be until he shows up. They’ll send you a txt as soon as he arrives, so you don’t have to stand out in the snow or risk being left behind. You get an estimate on the cost right up front, and never have to deal with cash, change or credit cards in the car. Taxi cab dispatchers often won’t give you much in the way of when your cab will show up. Taxi drivers usually give you a ring when they show up, and start charging you as soon as they do, whether you’re still in your apartment or not. You can keep an eye on the fare, but will rarely get anything close to an estimate up front from the dispatcher. Cash is easy, but if you can use a credit card and choose to do so, there’s extra time spent waiting for a mobile credit card machine to process everything and it’s just a pain.

The app’s ability to show you exactly where your driver is and how long until it arrives, an easy estimate and super easy method of making payment, typically cheaper pricing, and that you get to ride in a bunch of different types of cars makes Uber incredibly fun and so much better than a taxi. I could see taxi companies going out of business unless they change to this model.

Give Uber a Try Today!

Up Next: Steal from the Associated Press