4.10.2012

Uber: LA's Affordable (& Life-Changing) Private Car Service

Bryan & I next to our sweet Uber ride!
I hate to admit it, but we've all had the following scenario: You're enjoying a night out with friends, had a glass or two (or three) of wine, and next thing you know, it's time to drive home. If you're in New York or Chicago, it's no problem; you call a cab and you're good to go. If you're in LA, however, cabs are a nasty proposition. They're dirty, rip-you-off-expensive, and sometimes don't even show up. Well, thanks to an incredible new private car service called Uber, Angelenos no longer have to deal with taxi atrocities. 

Uber is like having your own private driver on speed dial, except "speed dial" happens to be an app on your phone. All it takes is one click (or a text) and the satellite finds your current location and dispatches the nearest black-suit-sunglasses-and-bluetooth-clad driver to pick you up. Uber does the rest (for the same price as a taxi) while giving you a bird's eye view from your phone:

  • Car icons on your phone's map reveal the closest Uber drivers
  • Uber dispatches the nearest driver to pick you up, sending you a text with the estimated arrival time (in my experience, it's rarely more than 15 minutes!) 
  • Watch in real-time while "your" driver is en-route to pick you up (there's even an option to call him/her with short-cuts or directions) 
  • Uber sends you a text when your private black sedan/Range Rover/Cadillac has arrived (complete with miniature water bottles)


But what about the bill, you ask? Will you have to haggle over a tip or deal with the driver passing a miniature clipboard into the backseat, held together with a rubber band? Oh no, Uber is far too sophisticated for that. When you first create an Uber account online, the 100% secure site saves your credit card information. After your ride, Uber drivers show you the total fare* on the car's iPhone "meter," then automatically charge your credit card (including tip) and email you a detailed receipt. You don't have to dig into your purse for your wallet or into your pocket for loose change. You literally hop in the car when they arrive, and hop out when you reach your destination. No exchange is required between you and your driver, although a genuine "thank-you-for-saving-me-from-taxi-hell" might be nice.

*Prices start with a minimum fare of $15. After that, Uber charges depending on speed, just like taxis do. When travelling at over 11mph, they charge a distance fee. Below 11mph, they charge a time fee. 

Uber: Everyone's Private Driver
Website: www.uber.com
Twitter: @Uber
Facebook.com/Uber



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