Uber Driven

How many times have you got in a taxi and realised you don’t have enough cash (or any cash for that matter) on you and the driver says they won’t take card? Then it’s either a trip to the ATM, which costs you more, or it’s up to you to try and sweet talk your way out of the situation, which may or may not turn into a verbal battle with the driver depending on how many drinks you’ve had. Or maybe you took a ‘reputable company’ who do take card, but, of course, you’ll have to pay that sneaky “electronic transaction fee”.

Or what about all those times you’ve waited 45 minutes for a taxi when you clearly told the automated booking system “ready now”? Don’t they understand I’m going to be late! At this point you’ve probably called the company so many times to find out where your car only to hear “it’s on its way” for what feels like the millionth time. And then you hang up on them, obviously.

Or how about those times when you’ve been waiting too long for your taxi which should have been here 10 minutes ago only to call up and find out it left because “you weren’t there” (i.e. they went to the wrong place)? Or maybe you asked them to text or call on approach, and they didn’t.

Oh and remember that time you hailed a cab off the street but left your keys (or phone, or wallet, or jacket) in the backseat? Good luck getting your goods back when you didn’t even look at the company logo on the door before jumping in.

Admit it. We’ve all been there, and probably had an argument or two with a driver on the (long) way. These are the exact reasons why I hate taxis and avoid them at all costs. That, and a few creepy stories of some dodgy drivers, but I won’t go there.

Enter Uber. The best thing to happen to transport. Ever.

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Chances are if you’ve spent much time in the United States (where it all began), or done a bit of globetrotting to the big cities, you’re already in the Uber loop. But for those of you going what the bloody hell is Uber please allow me to answer your transport prayers.

Uber is basically an app you download on your smart phone that functions like a private car service, and at a fraction of the cost of a taxi if you’re not fussy about your car. I was first introduced to the revolution in Sydney in 2012 and have been using it ever since – in Australia, the United States (it was my savior in LA and I even used it at Coachella), and now little old New Zealand. Lucky for us, Auckland and Wellington have joined over 200 other cities in 45 countries worldwide with access to miracle service. Praise the transport lords!

Okay, so what makes Uber the best thing ever?

  • Firstly, after downloading the free app, you create a profile and register with your credit or debit card (or both) so you don’t have to worry about having cash on you or paying that annoying little “electronic transaction fee”. You just book, ride, and hop out at your destination and your receipt is emailed to you. Easy!
  • It’s cheap! I guarantee you it will be much cheaper than what you pay for any taxi, especially in somewhere like Auckland. In LA when I used to take an Uber X to the airport (LAX) it would only cost me $45 from Hollywood as opposed to an $80 taxi fair. Bargain! Even better when you’d luck out and score a boss-like Benz instead of a Prius for the same rate…
  • Just like your location pin on your map, you can book the driver to your exact location, or you can move the pin to where you want to be picked up from.
  • Want an estimate of how much it will cost? No problem, before you click “Request Pickup” simply press “Fare Quote” and enter your drop-off point to see approximately how much your ride will be (and it’s very accurate).
  • Once you’ve booked, you can see exactly how far away your driver is so you know when to head outside. Who likes waiting on the street anyway?
  • From the moment you book, you know exactly what type of car is coming your way and who the driver is, and there’s even a photo of them so you know who to look out for. Safety, accountability, and convenience, yes please!
  • You’re even given the option to text or call the driver directly if need be. You’ll soon learn how much this comes in handy!
  • Case in point: Did you leave something in the car? Not to worry, just call your driver after and let them know.
  • Maybe you want to play the chivalry card and book a car for someone else. Easy, just drop the pin at their location and the car will be on it’s way. You can track its movements too so you know exactly when to be standing at the destination with flowers in hand (hint).
  • Chances are your driver’s a much happier chap than your standard taxi driver too. From my experience Uber drivers are pretty friendly people, but perhaps that’s because they’re not worried about you doing a runner or not having enough money on you to pay the fare. Like all great relationships, it’s reciprocal.
  • Uber works on a ratings system, and it’s not just the driver who wants their five stars. Rule of thumb: five stars all round for a hasslefree ride – which it should be every time.
  • Heading overseas? You can use the same Uber app wherever you are in the world so you don’t have to worry about creating a new profile or updating your payment details. If it’s there, you can book it!

Have I sold you yet?

Image Source: Uber Auckland Blog

Image Source: Uber Auckland Blog

Let me tell you a few more Uber perks from my experiences overseas. This is pretty cool… In America most of the drivers will even give you water and chewing gum. How’s that for customer service! I wouldn’t be surprised if this takes off here too once more cars are on the road, so that’s something to look forward too. I mean seriously, how could you ever take a taxi after that kind of treatment?

We may only have one option at the moment here (UberX – the low cost Uber), but overseas they also have different levels of cars available. For example in the LA there’s UberX (the cheapest), UberXL (a roomier, but still economical, ride), UberBlack (town cars – like the type Mr. Big rides round in in NYC), and UberSUV (if you want to feel like a pimp). Expect the options to appear here in time too, but in the meantime it’s a bit of a lucky dip, but sometimes you will hit the jackpot.

Image Source: Uber Auckland.

Image Source: Uber Auckland.

Convenient, cheap, and safe. What more could you want?

And guess what? For those of you newbies out there, I’ve got a little treat for you. Bright Eyes and Uber are getting together to offer all new users their first ride free, up to $20!

The process is simple:

  1. Download the UBER app on an iPhone, Android or Windows device, and create an account.
  2. Enter the promo code “BRIGHTEYESXUBER” when prompted (you can even do it straight away and it’s locked in).
  3. Check the ETA, ‘REQUEST’ when you need a car, and enjoy the ride!

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Join the revolution and let’s get more cars on the road and help expand the pick-up area beyond the inner city suburbs. More demand = more Ubers, and that’s a win for everyone.

Trust me on this one, Uber will change your life! Enjoy the ride…

Note: You can follow Uber Auckland on Twitter and Instagram @Uber_Auckland, or you can email supportauckland@uber.com if you need to get in touch directly.

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