Megan Singleton shares her best tips for the controversial Uber taxi app.
Uber is the taxi company causing a global ruckus as they shake up the industry by providing easy booking and cheaper fares. Here's how to use it.
1. Book online
Download the app on to your smartphone from the App Store, open an account, load your credit card details and if you're ready to take your first ride, hit the logo. Your fare will be automatically billed onto your card, including the tip if you're in America, and no cash changes hands.
2. GPS technology
When you open the app on your phone, your location will pop up and you'll see an image of little Uber cars near you ready to whisk you away. My tip is to override that and type the actual hotel name or street number as the GPS can be out by a few metres and, on a crowded street, that matters. Type in your final destination and before you've finished spell-checking, your driver will be heading your way.
As you wait (you'll get a notification about how many minutes that is) you will receive the details of your driver's name, car type and registration and a link so you can send the details of your journey by email to anyone. I sent my husband this link when taxiing from the shopping mall in Dallas back to the hotel. You also need to provide a star-rating at the end of your ride, which ensures the drivers are uber friendly and helpful (see what I did there?)
Not only do you get all of the above in one convenient transaction, but the cost is about a third of that of roving taxis we also used on our recent US trip. At this stage many airports don't let Uber drivers pick up, but you can get dropped off. The fare does change during peak times, but you will be alerted to that before you make your booking.
5. My prediction
Uber (and others that will probably soon arrive) is here to stay.
But that doesn't have to be doomsday for other businesses, it just means that, like the video shops of old, those companies need to embrace this online technology, focus on great customer service, use clean and modern cars and think about a business model that doesn't just suck profits to franchise owners.
Read Megan's travel blog at bloggeratlarge.com.