Uber Cab, Uber Fail
I live in Sacramento and I have a car, so the only time I use a taxi is when I am in San Francisco or New York. Luckily, that’s fairly often. Both of these cities have plenty of taxis, so finding one when needed, isn’t too difficult. But, once in a while it can be a problem. A new service called Uber Cab seeks to solve it.
Here’s the Uber Cab model. Customers register with the service online and provide their cell phone number and a credit card. When the customer needs a cab, she can text her location to Uber cab or use the iPhone or Android app to request a car. Uber Cab then replies with a confirmation and sends a car to arrive within 5 to 10 minutes. Payment of the fare and tip are automatically charged to the customer’s card on file, so no cash is needed. Pricing is available on the website and is a little bit more than a taxi, but still competitive given the added convenience.
Sounds great right? However, I’ve tried to use the service twice, once in San Francisco and once in New York and was left standing on the curb in both cases. My first try was in June after a San Francisco Giant’s game. I learned about Uber that day while reading an article about a planned taxi strike in the city. Uber was offering a 50% discount for people who wanted to try them instead. I knew that finding a cab after a sold out game on the day of a taxi strike would be tricky, so I sent a Tweet to Uber and asked if they would be able to provide service that night. “Absolutely,” they replied. I guess that word doesn’t mean what I think it means, because my text after the game was returned with a “sorry, we have no cars available” message.Continued on the next page