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Uber - Tell us. How was it for You?

I've been a prolific taxi user in the past mainly because I used to spend many an evening up the pub. You get older though and things change and you move on. I drink much less in pubs although I now enjoy a tipple at home. Something I never used to do when I was a pub regular. Overall, I drink much less than I used to. A sign of older years creeping up?

It's not just my drinking habits that have changed though. The taxi/cab industry has also changed. I've had experience in the past of excellent service with fast responses when booked, reasonable prices and an efficient and quick journey home. I've also had plenty of occasions where it's taken ages to turn up, a tour around half of the Borough and blatant attempts at overcharging. Give a cab driver a fraction of an excuse and most of them will grab as much as they can.

Now, there's Uber!

My wife uses them when she needs a cab. She thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread cabwise and if I'm honest, I was impressed when we attended a relatives daughters wedding out at Marlow in Buckinghamshire and needed to get back to West London at 2am, she did the Uber thing on her phone and one promptly turned up and got us home. It turned out he was from South London and had done a run out to near us and was returning home back to South London when he got our booking.

So for the last month, I've started using them. Just load the app on your phone, set up whatever payment method you prefer and away you go. I've used them about a dozen times and to be honest, I'm starting to see some patterns emerging that show to me, Uber drivers are just as dodgy and devious as their more contemporary colleagues are.

So you open up the app and and input what you want. The app saves previous bookings so if it's a repeat journey, just select that or enter the information for your new journey. It gives you an expected arrival time, a current location of where the driver is and a price range of what it will cost. A journey I've done a few times mostly comes in at between six pounds to nine pounds which I think is curious but that's what it does.

What is impressive is that there must be thousands of the buggers out there because there's always one within five minutes of your location. I've ordered one a couple of times where I'm still tying up my shoelaces when my Uber has turned up outside the door. A pleasant level of service but don't forget, after a few minutes, they start charging waiting time so it is in their interests to get to you as early as they can.

What's less impressive is that when many of them turn up, they might be fifty yards up the road and you may not realise they are there for a few minutes. Conveniently for them, the waiting time charge will kick in and they are sat there doing nothing but still earning your money. So if you order a Uber, have your shoes already knotted, keep an eye on the road and be prepared to leave the house quickly.

The pricing structure is also open to abuse by a dodgy driver. Say the app quotes you between six pounds and nine pounds. Don't be surprised if your driver engineers the journey to get the nine quid because it's a bit of a quite night and he's got nothing better to do. For instance, I watched the England versus Columbia game the other night at Hillingdon Golf Club with some friends. I don't play golf and I'm not a member but they sell Doombar so when they invited me, I thought, why not! After the game, three of us sat at the bar until after midnight celebrating Englands victory over the Columbian national diving team and generally having a really good evening.

When I ordered a Uber well after midnight, I accepted the quotation and waited for my ride. After a few minutes, the app informed me that my ride was there but a look out of the window showed no signs of a car waiting. I gave it a few more minutes and then decided to go outside and wait. I was surprised to see that my Uber was there but up the road about 70 yards. So I walked up there, a little annoyed because arthritis means I was using crutches, and got in the cab. I then got treated to a tour of some of the southern half of the London Borough of Hillingdon as we slowly made our way to the destination. The journey with the contrived waiting time came to £9.86p.

The app does have a facility to complain about some matters and I used it to say that the route used was wasn't the most direct and there wasn't any other reason to take such a long route because, at that time of the night, traffic was minimal and there weren't any roadworks.

Uber responded that the journey and the fare were both within acceptable parameters and they weren't taking any further action. Needless to say, Alamgir didn't get a tip that night from me.

The very next day, I had to return to the golf club to retrieve my car. I again booked a Uber about twenty to eleven in the morning. The app told me that the car would be a couple of minutes. I was ready to go so I decided to go outside and wait for it. I stood near the road talking to one of my neighbours and after a few minutes, my Uber still hand't turned up and I was beginning to think something was wrong. Then my phone pinged and I checked to see that the Uber app was telling me that my Uber had waited eight minutes and as I hadn't turned up, he was leaving and they were charging me six quid for his time. I looked up the road to see a car about 70 yards away pulling away and driving off over the horizon. I got back on the app, re-booked it and then used the app to tell them that he was in the wrong place and hadn't picked me up. They refunded the six quid and the Uber returned to get me. I did wonder though if I would have got the refund if I hadn't re-booked?

Yesterday, I returned to the golf club to reacquaint myself with the doombar and watch England trounce Sweden 2-0. What a re-freshing change to watch a relatively clean game of football. This time, I had parked my car in a pub car park on the Uxbridge road and used my little scooter to complete the journey to the golf club. After the game and a few celebratory beers, I used the scooter to go back to the pub car park where I re-interred the scooter into the car boot and joined some friends in the pub.

I only had one beer in the pub because to be honest, the doombar had filled up my hollow legs leaving no room for any more so I decided to book my journey home. I clicked on the Uber app and started pressing for a ride and was surprised to find that the quote was between eight and eleven pounds. Eleven pounds is nearly double what I would expect to pay so I decided to get a quote from a cab firm that I used to use quite regularly. They came in at £6.50 so they got the job. I gave the driver seven quid when he dropped me off and I was happy with the trip and the price.

Would I use Uber again? Well yes if there wasn't another option or if I needed a car asap. They would't be an automatic first choice though. They are in my experience more expensive by quite a margin and the system is open to some exploitation by drivers especially if it's a bit of a slow night and they want to try and rack the waiting time charges up and take a longer route than they normally would.

One last thing. Uber are a pretty much worldwide operation and they are obviously looking to dominate the market. I'm told that it's currently losing money hand over fist but the aim is to decimate the competition and then hike the prices. I don't know if anybody else has a view on that but is it a viable aim to try and wipe out competition in the cab market and dominate like I'm told Uber are aiming to?

So come on. What's your Uber experience. Do you use them? Do you like them? Is it a nefarious plot to take over the world cab trade?
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Can I specify I’m a wheelchair user on the app?
Can I specify I’m a wheelchair user on the app?

I have't used it because I can get in and out of a car with sticks but I understand they have a disabled app option that you can download.
I wonder if those people who are just discovering the joys of Uber are the same ones who voted Brexit?
What would a "normal" mini cab charge for your visits to the golf club?

I would expect to pay around six or seven quid. If I was charged seven, I wouldn't tip because that's the upper end of what I would expect to pay. The journey is less than three miles and usually takes around ten minutes.
I never tip anyway. There’s a minimum wage in effect.


Book Reviewer
Can I specify I’m a wheelchair user on the app?
Yes, you can, they are one of the few firms in London to have accessible cars.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
they do have one or two dodges, at busy times the drivers all meet up, especially near heathrow and put their phones to out of service, this pushes the prices up as Uber have flexible pricing
Also some of their drivers have poor driving ability, one of them tried to take myself and my motorcycle out by overtaking me and then slamming on the brakes and turning left in front of me !!! I did have my visor up and his windows were down, so he heard exactly what I thought of his poor skills
had one in front of me locally, he had a small people carrier, mobile phone stuck in windscreen, tablet stuck in windscreen, sat nav stuck in windscreen, and a dashcam stuck in the windscreen !!!
he was from Birmingham and then decided to pull in to the kerb and attempt a U turn in a one way street ?? thats the trouble with having poor driving skills and using a satnav, I simply indicated went round him very close and aimed to smash his wing off, he got the message, otherwise the motorcyclist coming up in the right hand lane would have been taken out.
also their is some doubt about how many drivers use the same car and ID ?
me I use a local licensed cab from the rank, or ring up and book a private hire car
Can I specify I’m a wheelchair user on the app?
Yup, dependent on local area - London being v good.

Accessibility at Uber | Accessible transportation options for individuals with disabilities

Be careful with Uber and you're fine, you get some shit, and I mean really shit, drivers. Nothing up with changing your mind, getting out and marking him down before getting another cab.

Edit to add that I suspect cabbies with the full accessibility fit will not be shit.
If you own a business that has overnight manned guarding..ensure the melanin enhanced bloke sent to keep the seat warm is not an Uber driver. He'll either bugger off at random intervals or..have a stooge sit in for him.

Biiiig problem in London.
I use Uber regularly in Oz where it is a real game changer. Before, there were just licenced cabs; no minicab set up like the UK has.

Book a licenced can and a beat up Ford Falcon would turn up with a recent arrival driving. In the cities, the driver would never know where he was going and probably not speak English.

Uber turns up with a nice modern car, the driver can’t get lost and it’s never more than half the price of a taxi. The only issue I’ve had is they often use small cars.

People now go out much more. I can meet up with friends in the pub, have a few beers and get home for thirty bucks return. A taxi was 50 each way.
Use it and Lyft all the time In the states - always cheaper than a cab and generally better drivers. The cars are always less worn out. Had a few crappy drivers but it’s a taxi - what do you expect.
Interesting to hear that abroad Uber is cheaper than cabs but seems to be working out more expensive in the UK. Friends who use them happily in London tell me it's useless trying to get one here in Stoke.
Used Uber in Perth WA when we were over there. Reliable, clean, nice car (Mitsubishi Overlander), very polite Aussie driver. Cheap as well, travelling from Kingsley to the Breakwater bar.
The cars are always less worn out.
Don’t know about the US, but here in Oz the cars have to be less than ten years old and less than 100000km. Most of cars I’ve booked have been Korean mod sized SUVs, often new and financed specifically for Uber work.

The qualification for Sydney’s taxi fleet appears to be “more than ten years old and no less than 500000km”. They’re often sheds with vinyl seats and floors so that bogan puke can we washed out. Often the card payment systems doesn’t work. These are being replaced by Prius and Camry hybrids which lose the advantage of size.