Using UBER instead of taxi –
I’ve never been a fan of using a taxi for transportation. I am a big fan of using public transportation when I travel; however, over the past couple of years I have been using Uber as a great alternative.
Uber is generally less expensive than a taxi and the cars are normally clean and the payment process is seamless so you do not have to worry about having cash to pay the driver.
I have had plenty of bad taxi experiences in New York and other cities so when uber came out it was an amazing alternative.
Uber has several different options from small cars to large cars: Uber, Uberx, UberBlack, UberSUV among others. There are even lower priced options including ride share service and a few unique options in certain cities.
I personally prefer Uberx as it is normally the lowest priced option.
I most frequently use Uber when I travel to get from the airport to the hotel or in some cases from my home to the airport if I will be away for more than a few days.
To use it, I open the app and select which uber option I am interested in. One I selected that a map is displayed that shows where the cars are located. I press a button to request an uber and a screen pops up to confirm where I will be picked up. You can also select a price quote from the app after you enter in the destination. Otherwise I simply request the car and the app tells me how long it will take for Uber to arrive. I can enter in my destination and confirm my method of payment on that screen as well.
When the car arrives, I can review a picture of the driver and see the license plate number on the car to help with locating the car.
When I am in the car, the driver already knows where I am going and I can just relax and be driven to my destination. The app will display the suggested route and you can follow the cars movement on the map.
Most of the time the cars are clean and a lot more comfortable than a taxi.
Upon arrival at your destination, the payment is automatically processed and no tip is required as they price the service to include a gratuity to the driver.
A receipt is emailed to me a few minutes after the ride is complete. You are asked to review the driver and the driver reviews you as a rider as well.
I use a travel credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which earns bonus points as the transaction is considered travel. In addition, Starwood has a promotion where if you link your account and you use Uber during the same time period that you are staying at a SPG hotel, you will receive bonus Starpoints.
The only time I do not like using Uber is when they activate Surge Pricing. Surge pricing is when they charge a premium for when there is the most demand. What that happens, it makes the price significantly more expensive and at times I have even seen up to 3 or 4 times the normal pricing. Fortunately, the app informs you if that pricing is activated so you do not have to use the service at that time.
I generally find Uberx to be priced lower than taxis. Regular Uber or UberBlack to be slightly more than a taxi. I do not utilize the larger car services so I do not have any experience with those.
Airport transportation can be tricky with Uber or other ride share apps. In Minneapolis, Uberx can drop off at the airport but it cannot pick up. Uber Black can pick up at the airport but they charge a lot of airport fees. My ride to the airport on Uberx can be around $45; however, a ride home will be over $100 due to the airport fees and the fact that UberBlack is required.
There are some fixes for this but they do not always work. In some area, you can pin the pickup point off of the airport and you can request an Uberx from there. Then you have to contact the driver to ask them to pick you up at the airport. Some drivers will happily do this but others will not. You can also take public transportation one stop from the airport and then request it there. Alternatively, you could take a hotel shuttle to a hotel and then request Uberx from there. All of those things take extra time.
Do you use Uber? What had your experience been?