It's the quintessential night out in downtown Boston. You and all your friends meet up at [fill in the blank] bar for drinks and good times. Shortly before 2am the lights come on, coats are gathered and everyone - at every bar in the area - heads outside to hail a cab... simultaneously. What usually follows is 10-90 minutes of arm-extended frustration as I curse the anonymous backseat riders who drive by in unlit taxis. Well, not anymore.
This weekend I finally tried out the relatively-new "on-demand private driver" service, Uber. For the past few months I've read articles about Uber's burgeoning growth and observed a growing number of complimentary tweets fill my news feed. Partially inspired by these positive reviews, but mainly motivated by the out-of-order ATM and the crowd of other bar patrons lining Tremont Street, I decided to give Uber a shot this past Saturday night. Let me say, it was a life changing experience.
In less than 5 minutes, I downloaded Uber's iPhone app, set-up a personal profile, requested a car and got picked up. That's right. 5 minutes from searching the App store to being in the backseat of Ameur's (my driver) sedan. Here's a quick overview of how the service works:
- Request a ride from anywhere at any time via SMS or by using Uber's iPhone or Android apps (GPS pinpoints your specific location and provides to Uber)
- Uber dispatches the nearest driver to pick you up and immediately provides an estimated arrival time. Via the app, you can actually watch your black car en route to your location
- Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride... cash free. Uber automatically charges the cost of the ride - including tip - to the credit card you have on file. Pricing is based on a flat base fare ($7 in Boston) and then incremental charges based on distance/time
The overall experience was terrific. After arriving at my destination, I immediately received a receipt via email and was encouraged to rate my driver on a 1-5 star scale. The cost of the ride was relatively comparable to a taxi (perhaps a few dollars more), but the overall experience was head and shoulders above taking a cab home. Available in Boston, Chicago, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, D.C. and soon in LA and Toronto - Uber marries the best of technology and convenience to provide a stellar consumer experience.
I highly recommend downloading the app and giving Uber a try. And with promises that this is a totally unsolicited endorsement, I will also share that they have a great referral program to motivate trial. Sign up with this link and get $10 off your first ride! https://clients.uber.com/#!/invite/jv4kz.
Any other Uber fans out there? Let me know about your experiences so far in the comments section below!