Uber travel tested

I love the idea of Uber, but have always shied away from giving it a try. However, in the interests of giving something new a go, I thought it was time to get Ubered.

I imagine everyone’s heard of Uber but just in case you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain.

Uber is a collection of owner/operator drivers, who all work independently, using their own car to provide a taxi service. Uber operates via an app, through which you book and pay for your ride, as well as rating your driver and, your driver can rate you.

The app can be downloaded free of charge. You have to link a credit card or Paypal account for payment, so it’s not generally something you can do on the spur of the moment. Once you’re registered, however, you’re good to go, and go I did.

Kaye and I had a work function so we decided this was the perfect time to get Ubering. We input our address and destination, choose to be given an estimate of the fare and hit go. Almost immediately we were told that our driver Rob was heading our way, as well as what car he was driving and the registration.

Through the app we can track exactly where Rob is and sure enough, he’s bang on time.

Surprisingly, the car is quite new and clean, not something you would say for most taxis you jump in. Rob introduces himself and when we explain this is our first Uber, he’s only too happy to explain how it all works.

Rob is in his fifties and currently looking for work. With a background in the automotive industry, he’s not finding it easy but thanks to Uber, he can be flexible for interviews as well as being able to earn some money. When Rob is free to work, he simply opens the app and sees which jobs are available. This is possibly why his car is so clean as he tells us he refuses to do the after pub and club run home.

When we reach our destination, our card is charged, receipt is received by email and we’re asked to rate our driver – Rob has an overall rating of 4.7 out of five and we certainly can’t argue with that.

But will our return trip be as successful?

Manish is there as promised as we departed the venue and what a cheery chap he is. Getting married in a few weeks time, Manish is a development engineer but is working some shifts to earn extra money to pay for his intimate, but still expensive wedding. He’s more than happy to share with us the words of wisdom given to him by his mother on marriage – respect your wife, trust your wife and remember that she’s the boss!

Clearly excited about the prospect of marrying his Irish girlfriend, he rejects Kaye’s offer of my hand in marriage as payment for the fare – thank goodness for all concerned.

As he drops us off, he’s incredibly reluctant to take the tip we’re more than happy to leave, and now I know why – there is no need to tip an Uber driver.

With fares that are generally lower than those of your traditional taxis, no tipping and no Cabcharge fee to rip you off, Uber makes financial sense.

And with a snapshot of people’s lives thrown in for free, I can honestly say I’m converted.

Find out more about Uber as a potential driver or customer.

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