Living in Downtown Chicago while not owning a car and hearing non-stop over the past few years from all of my friends who are Uber-obsessed, I thought that I should finally give it a go while my friend was in town.
What took me so long to try it?
- The idea of going into a strangers car kinda freaks me out. To me it is one thing going into a commercial cab and another to get into someone’s Civic.
- I enjoy the fact that cab drivers are busy talking to their family in Zimbabwe and I feel no need to engage in a completely meaningless conversation. Unless we are friends, or we are dating, or we are having some steamy love affair (even then because of social protocols), I could care less about your opinion on anything or knowing anything about you. It’s not that I am mean, I just don’t care. I don’t know you and I know in 30 seconds we will both forget we even had the riveting yet boring conversation between street lights.
I can say that I gave it an honest shot. I tried it several times.
One thing that I did like, is that living in a certain area of Chicago, each time I requested an Uber, it took only a few minutes. They were plentiful.
The first Uber seemed nice enough, but his heat was blasting, his NBA talk radio was blasting, and his car was dirty. I wanted to run, but my normal avoidance of conflict made me sit in the back and stare at my phone. There was major traffic on the highway (he shouldn’t have taken the highway, but the Uber app told him to). Several streets passed where he should have gotten off, but he didn’t, and he told me that he has to follow the app. A 15 minute drive turned into 50 minutes. Never would have happened in a cab.
The second driver ended up taking 15 minutes to arrive when the app said 4. When he arrived, he parked on the opposite side of the street, so it took a few minutes just to walk to the intersection, cross the street and get to the car. This guy was a talker, yikes. It was 30 minutes of Dr. Phil. I learned about his several jobs, his kids, financial issues, his wife. Dude….. Afterward, my neck hurt because his car was really small and I am 6’0. At least his car was clean.
Then there were other experiences that involved driver’s who canceled at the last minute and/or couldn’t find the location. So you just wait for several minutes on a ride that will never even come.
Oh, but it gets worse………. Uber pool………. It’s great to save money, but OMG….. This has never worked out well. Either the driver canceled or we were sent on a goose chase to find someone who canceled right when we got there.
And then there were the two driver’s who went the wrong way, and didn’t listen to me OR the app. Imagine the frustration of a 5 minute ride taking 45 minutes…….
Conclusion: While I love the idea of being able to summon a car and tell that car where to go all within 20 seconds using your iPhone, I have serious problems with it.
- You never know what car you are going to get. Some of these cars are tiny. I am NOT 5 feet tall! In a cab you get a somewhat standard size. Even if you want the larger cars, that limits your options.
- So many of the cars are dirty. Like dude, pick up your trash. This baffles me.
- Everyone wants to have a conversation. I don’t want to be friends, I want you to get me to my location expeditiously without killing me.
- Nobody knows where they are going. Most of these Uber driver’s work like 4 hours a day each month unlike a cab driver who works 14 hours a day, every day and knows where to go and which way you should go.
- Even with my perfect rating, it seems like drivers cancel half the time, which is fine, but it takes them awhile to do it and then there is the problem of them being on the right side of the street.
While I could see using the service when traveling, in downtown Chicago where cabs are plentiful, I would rather pay twice as much and have someone who knows where they are going.
Of course I have had many bad cab experiences, but that is a WHOLE other article… I digress.