How the other half lives? Uber aims to save you from taxis and shuttle youaround in style
It’s not hard to pinpoint the worst part of going out on the town. Sure, it sucks going shoulder to shoulder with 30 other people as you try to get the bartender’s attention. And, yeah, the bouncers can be a bit, um, difficult every now and again.
But, hands down, the biggest annoyance has got to be hailing a cab come closing time as 400 other drunk people fight each other for a shot at getting home (or the after-party, R. Kelly style). Assuming there are cabs on the street to hail, that is.
Then, if the gods have smiled upon you, and the taxi has shuttled you to your final destination, you have to haggle with the driver over using a credit card because you ran out of cash ordering $7 Bud Lights. Look, man, you are legally obligated to take a credit card. This is America! Dey tuk er jerbs!
The rates are higher than most taxis, but you can order a ride before you leave the bar. A black sedan waits for you outside. You pay for quality — and convenience.
Sorry. What we’re trying to say is that getting around after a night out can be a hassle. And there’s always the risk of driving drunk, which is stupid and should never be done. But where there is life, there is wishful thinking.
Fortunately, there’s now a third option. (Well, fourth, if you count hitchhiking.) It’s called Uber, billed as “everyone’s personal driver.” Uber is an app-based driving service that enables any Android or iPhone user to summon a driver. Operations manager Will Zinsmeister says Uber has gone from a small startup to operating in more than 15 cities — including London and Paris.
“We started two years ago in San Francisco, and we’ve been able to scale quickly,” he says.
The rates are higher than most taxi services, but you can order a ride before you leave the bar. A black sedan waits for you outside while all the peasants wait for their yellow cabs. You pay for quality — and convenience.
The app allows you to see how many drivers are in your area, and a GPS tracker stays up as your selected driver comes to you. Your credit card is on file, so there’s no haggling over price or worrying about not having enough cash. What’s more, you get to rate your driver each time, and, in a fair twist, the driver gets to rate you. So don’t be a dick, you know?
According to Zinsmeister, drivers are independent contractors, and they can work as much or as little as they want. All are professionally licensed and personally vetted by Uber. For now, you can find most of the drivers in the downtown-Uptown-Park Cities corridor and out west in Arlington, but the company plans to expand to all areas of Dallas as quickly as possible.
We have yet to test Uber here in Dallas, but an esteemed colleague in Washington, D.C., has used the service several times and asserts that it is well worth the extra money. He said it was generally “more ballin’” than the typical taxi trip. Okay.