I remember when I first started to use Taxi’s, I was about 16 to 17 years old and I was lazy! There used to be a bus where I stayed called the Spondon Flyer, it ran literally every 10 minutes from Derby Bus Station to the village of Spondon, but instead of waiting for the next one, I used my old NEC Analogue Mobile Phone and called for a Chad’s Cars.
That small trip used to cost me about £5 to £6 instead of £1.50 or thereabouts. But it was door to door, and I didn’t have to walk the 2 minutes from the bottom of my road to 2 houses up! Yes very Lazy!
So I first noticed Uber when I was reading one of the many magazines that I receive, I wasn’t sure about it until I went to Berlin in March, then when I used Tripadvisor it kept saying €2 to get you from the place I was to the point of interest. Then a few weeks later I landed in Helsinki, armed with the downloaded Uber account, connected to my Paypal…
Only to find out it wasn’t so popular in Helsinki! Nevertheless, every opportunity I had, I tried to see if Uber could help. Then finally, I landed at Amsterdam airport on the 10th April, by the luggage retrieval and my iPhone Plus in the other hand. I then had a look at UberPop, discussed this with my wife and a Dutch lady overheard, she warned me away from UberPop and to stick with UberBlack and above, this is because UberPop is a bloke with a car, trying to earn some money and is illegal in the Netherlands.
So our last day in Amsterdam, and as much as I wanted to get a standard taxi outside the hotel so that I could ride in another Tesla Model S, I went for Uber… Selected my pickup point and it told me that the car was 9 minutes away, next minute my iPhone rings, its the driver saying he was 10 minutes away.
The app displays a photo of your driver and when it gets closer, the registration plate of the taxi. It also shows you where it is on a map.
When the car pulled up outside, it was a beautiful Mercedes S Class in Black, it had massive armchairs in the back with air conditioned seats, heated seats and so many different positions to change. We were on our way within minutes and you can follow the progress on the app.
When we got to the airport, we got out, grabbed our bags and walked off. Next a message popped up saying it had cost me €39.00 and it had been debited from my Paypal account, so simple. It was much cheaper than the taxi from the airport to the hotel also.
Uber was founded by a couple of guys called Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009, it was originally called Ubercab and launched in San Francisco. Apparently the guys landed in Paris, couldn’t get a taxi and thought of a way around it, and then Uber was born!
It operates in over 200 cities worldwide and is without controversy, causing issues with law breaking in several countries to black cabs having demonstrations in the streets of London, but we believe that Uber is here to stay and we are all for it!
The app itself is pretty simple, it starts off in your location. If you are in a location with Uber Vehicles, you can see these driving around on the app. There is a slider at the bottom that you can change the taxi type. In Helsinki, we had the option of UberBlack or UberLux, in Amsterdam we had UberPop, UberBlack and UberLux. Of course the popularity of these Uber vehicle varies from place to place, having a quick look at New York and there are loads of different options.
Setting up is straight forwards enough, you can link it to Paypal or a credit/debit card. I did Paypal dues to security more than anything, gives me piece of mind. Upload a photo of yourself, this helps the driver identify you and you can identify him from his photo also.
Free Rides – A great idea, when you recommend a friend and they use Uber, you both get a free ride! So easy to sort out!
Split Fares – Great for traveling with business colleagues or friends. When you get to your destination, then simply hit split fare, add your friend and the fare gets split in half, bear in mind, if your friend doesn’t accept, then you are responsible for the full payment.
[alert]What Would Go Well With It…[/alert]
A few other apps work well with this Uber App, for starters. Google Maps now has an Uber option when you select Public Transport on the directions, it even gives you a fare estimate, which of course you can do within the app anyway.
Tripadvisor is another great app to use Uber with, when on Trip – look for the place of interest, then in the listing it tells you how much it will cost you to get from where you are to where you want to go, select it and it goes straight onto the Uber app.
I’m looking forward to seeing more options on the Uber app in the future, even a tipping function would be nice. But the driver does not ask for tips. We just need a few more cities for this to work in and I’m all for using this on a daily basis!