My First Time in an Uber

uber-logoThis weekend I did two things for the first time that many hipper people have done a number of times: Uber and AirBnB.

Let’s start with Uber today–I’ll talk about AirBnB tomorrow. I was in Austin for a wedding, and a few of the events were pretty far from where I was staying. After one of these events (the Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match), my friends and I couldn’t find a ride, so we took the leap and hailed an Uber.

I had already installed the app on my phone, so all I did was confirm my current location and tell the app where I wanted to go. Within seconds a driver had accepted the job and was heading in our direction. I could actually watch exactly where the driver was on a map as it moved towards my location.

The driver, Jeffrey, was a local reporter who also happened to love cars, as we could tell from his well-maintained BMW. He was an excellent driver and was very friendly, and before we knew it, we were back in downtown Austin.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the app is that it made payments really easy. There’s no awkward handoff of cash or credit at the end of the ride. The app already knows your credit card, and it automatically charges you based on distance and time when you arrive. There’s no tip because a large percentage of the fee goes directly to the driver, and yet it was still more affordable than a taxi.

We took one other Uber ride later in the weekend, and it was a reminder that seat belts are a good idea (why don’t we wear seat belts in taxis? Isn’t that weird?). The driver missed a turn and decided to do a U-turn in the middle of a four-lane bridge. It kind of happened in slow mo, with us assuring the driver we were in no rush and that he should cross the bridge first. He disregarded these requests and completed the U-turn as we hurriedly buckled in.

However, that’s where another cool aspect of Uber plays a factor: You can rate the driver after the ride (they can also rate you, the passenger). I gave the second driver 2 out of 5 stars. Perhaps it was an anomaly, in which case the 2 won’t factor into his overall rating. But if he gets a number of 1 and 2 stars, he may no longer quality as an Uber driver.

Overall, I had a really good experience with Uber. I could see all taxis converting to a similar system in the future.

Have you used Uber? If so, what has been your experience with it?