Bye Bye Yellow Cabs
Why I Will Never Again Pay for a Taxi
Disclaimer: I don’t work for Uber, nor do I even know anyone personally from the company. I simply really really enjoy their product, so much so that I will market it for no other reason than wanting to share the Uber love.
I began using Uber in May, admittedly late for a generally with-it tech fan, and can honestly say it was one of my better decisions this summer.
For those that aren’t aware of the company, check it out here.
Uber epitomizes the term disruption. They are so disruptive that people have no idea how to even handle their existence. The taxi companies are livid because they recognize that there is little they can do to slow down this behemoth of quality called Uber, and the lawmakers don’t even know what is going on (picturing John McCain using Uber…).
I decided to write this piece after spending an entire dinner explaining Uber to my non-techy parents. My mom doesn’t quite trust technology all the time, but even she was amazed at what I was saying.
Let’s look at the standard of the private transportation industry for students like me prior to Uber. We had taxis. Plain and simple. The taxi companies, particularly in Boston (where I currently live), grew grotesquely complacent.
Uber and their don’t-give-a-fuck-I’ll-do-what-I-want CEO Travis Kalanick capitalized on that complacency and created better capitalism by offering a better system. Here’s how Uber is kicking ass.
Design. Check the app out yourself, but in the mean time here’s a glimpse. I don’t even know who the designer is, but I am utterly impressed.
Cashless. It saddens me to know that many cabs in Boston still only accept cash as payment. It’s 2013 taxi companies, have you been living under a fucking rock? The fact that I was cheery to discover that all NYC cabs accept credit cards should have tipped me off that there was a problem. Unfortunately I wasn’t the visionary, but my trustworthy Uber took care of that for me. Once inputting my credit card information into the app upon registration, I never again had to reach for my wallet despite using Uber every week since. First problem with the taxi industry solved, thanks Uber.
Price. Uber black cars are comparable and often times cheaper than taxi cabs in Boston. I know this isn’t true for every city, but Boston taxi prices make me cringe. However, with the introduction of UberX, I was blown away. Fares for UberX are honestly about half what it would cost for a crappy Boston taxi. After a ride, they send me this nifty receipt to summarize the trip with details that I don’t really care about but are interesting nonetheless. Thanks again Uber, you are like a date that wants to split the check. Gotta love it.
Quality. The vehicles are fancy and the drivers are (…drumroll), nice. I was blown away at the sincerity of Uber’s drivers. Gone are the days when the entire ride is spent arguing with the driver about what route to take, thinking that he was trying to scheme a couple more dollars by taking the long/slow route. Uber sends you a report of the route taken and internally compares the route taken with the most efficient route possible. They do so to constantly asses the efficiency of their drivers to ensure the drivers are not pulling a fast one. The drivers are aware of this, and go out of their way to make sure to take whatever route you choose. It is comforting to know the nerds behind the screens at the Uber HQ have my back. You guys actually alleviate stress from of my life. Beautiful.
Reliability. I no longer have to pester the inept taxi call-center operators to find out why my taxi that I called for 40 minutes ago isn’t here. Uber is eerily accurate at predicting how long the vehicle will take, and if I am curious, I can simply watch the car drive towards my location. Damn that’s cool.
It’s good capitalism. I feel proud to use Uber because I am supporting small business owners. Many of the Uber drivers are entrepreneurs who have started their own small business after hearing about Uber. Uber doesn’t own any cars, but is merely the software that these ambitious small-business owners use. The taxi companies will try to defend their archaic monopolies with the law, but in the long term, I don’t see them winning. Uber may not have the law on its side today, but it will be the reason the law changes in the future. It’s a better product, for a better price, supporting small business owners. Sounds like a goddamn presidential campaign slogan. Woop woop, Uber does it again.
I seriously have no affiliation with Uber nor am I looking for a job from them (though if this reaches any Uber employees, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to some Uber credits). Events like the financial collapse of 2008 make me question capitalism from time to time, but companies like Uber restore my capitalist instincts. It’s merely good business in the free-market economy and Uber’s $3.4 billion dollar valuation solidifies that notion. Adam Smith would be proud. Cheers, to Uber.