Living on the Road

Uber Car Service


Better than a taxi

Uber is a car service that’s much better than a taxi in almost every instance. I’ve used Uber for seven months in different cities in the US and have never had to wait more than five minutes for a car to arrive.

Download the Uber app on your iPhone or Android. The app displays a map and you are in the center. You can see nearby Uber cars waiting to pick up customers. Click the “request” button and the nearest driver is dispatched to your location. It feels like a video game.

Why is Uber superior to taxis? Here’s a list of reasons:

1. The app sends your GPS coordinates to the driver so you don’t need to know your address or intersection.

2. You can see the driver (represented by a symbol) on the map as he comes to get you. I dislike wondering whether or not a taxi really was dispatched when I need to go the airport.

3. The app shows you a photo of the driver and the make, model, and license plate of the car so you can be sure the right driver is picking you up (and not a so-called “gypsy cab.”)

4. You can communicate with your assigned driver by phone or text before he gets to you, in case you have special pick-up instructions. (“I’m wearing a blue jacket.”)

5. When your driver reaches you, you get a text that he is waiting for you (I say “he” because I’ve not had a woman driver yet). This is good if you want to wait in a restaurant or hotel lobby.

6. You can enter your drop-off location and get a fare quote before you request a car. The price of an Uber ride is usually as much as a taxi ride. Sometimes it’s a bit less.

7. Payment is automatically charged to the credit card you registered with. There’s no cash involved and no tipping. When you reach your drop-off point all you have to do is say good bye to the driver and get out. Your receipt is emailed to you.

8. The Uber website saves your trip history, complete with fare payment and maps.

When is a taxi better? When you are standing on a curb and want to get somewhere nearby and there are plenty of available cabs driving by. Then it is easier to whistle.

Check here to find out where Uber is available (the taxicab lobby has delayed Uber deployment in certain cities).


-- Mark Frauenfelder 01/20/14