Uber car service

Discussion in 'Other Car Rental Programs' started by viguera, Dec 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    https://www.uber.com/

    An interesting "black car" service much in the way as G7 works. You basically sign up for the service and download the app, then when you need a pickup you use the app to summon a driver -- assuming you're in one of the participating locations.

    They send the driver over and charge you based on distance (plus a base fare in most cases) and when you're done you step out and that's that -- your card on file is automatically billed and you don't have to do much else.

    The service is currently available in a handful of US cities (the usual suspects like NYC, DC, SFO, etc) and Paris. The rates are listed on their site and seem to be calculated at a variable rate based on distance/time -- over 11mph you're charged for distance but in traffic you get charged based on time.

    The fares are terribly expensive compared to a regular cab but surprisingly competitive when you compare them to a car service. And after all you're paying for the convenience of being able to summon a Town Car on command, rather than have to stand on the curb and hope someone shows up to take you to the airport. :)

    Time will tell if this is successful... I suppose it will be based on how many people adopt it and whether or not they add more destinations.
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    One of the advantages of using a car service is that it is a fixed rate. You do not bear the risk of a bad traffic jam but do not benefit from cost savings on light traffic days. This sounds more like a premium taxi service for higher than taxi rates, plus some high tech and preregistration features.
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    How long does it take for a car to show up?

    I recently tried http://www.execucar.com/ after my wife got tired of nasty smelling and dirty cabs picking us up at home, and while about twice the price of a cab for our trip it was quite nice.
     
  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well they "say" 5-10 minutes, but I haven't tried it myself to know. I would imagine they piggyback off other car services and that's where the premium rates come from, but someone should try them out and write a review. :)
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I'd more likely give it a try if I could price out a trip without first signing up.
     
  6. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    That's a key question for me. The I'll be there in 10 minutes when it's really 45 minutes just dosen't cut it.
     
  7. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Absolutely. Or maybe offer a sign-up bonus or something to encourage people to join and try the service. I know if they gave people something like a $25 credit for signing up they'd be more likely to have new customers -- whether that generates repeat business is entirely up to them.

    Plus they already have your credit card on file, so if they show up late and you've taken another form of transportation, they can easily charge you a "no show" that then you have to fight.

    Obviously a guarantee of sorts would be useful, but even then that's hard to enforce considering that the driver can say they were stuck in traffic or whatever.
     
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  8. Dreamworks

    Dreamworks Gold Member

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    I used to use a great car service in Boston that was somewhere between a taxi and Commonwealth Limo (high end) when it came to fares. Now in DC, I'm using the local cab service (Yellow Cab) that has computer reservations and accepts credit cards. Is it as nice as having the paper and a bottle of water? No, but it's only 15 mins to DCA from my apt and that's not long enough to want to pay the $40-$60 difference.
     
  9. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah I think it depends entirely on whether or not you can get a better deal from fix rates using the yellow cabs -- assuming you have decent cab service near your place.
     
  10. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Looks like Uber is in the news, as they periodically introduce "surge pricing" during high-usage times (Halloween and New Years more recently) and their rates sky-rocket -- literally.

    Some twitter comments show people being charged simply outrageous rates ($75 for 2 miles, $100 for 1.5 miles, etc). But all this comes with a caveat of course, which is that Uber posted this upcoming "dynamic pricing" during the holiday on their website, and supposedly notified registered users.

    Of course this is the crux of a program like this... they already have your card information on file as I said before, so unless you're using a virtual number of preset limits, this could turn into a real mess arguing with them after they charge you an arm and a leg -- regardless of whether they informed you they would or not.

    http://allthingsd.com/20120101/uber...aints-considers-dynamic-pricing-for-weekends/
     
  11. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Looking back at this thread with nostalgia... I've been hooked on Uber for over a year now and between the promos and just plain convenience it's hard to see this as anything but awesome. :)

    I'm surprised there's no conga line for the $10 referral for credits, although I can see how it's lucrative for someone to try to get as many as possible. Either way, this week's ATL promo (4 x $30 UberX rides) is ridiculous and shouldn't be passed up if you're in the area.

    My invite link -- for anybody that still hasn't signed up -- is here: https://uber.com/invite/ubervig
     

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