If you’ve ever waited for a taxi after arriving in a crowded city like NYC, you know just how frustrating this process can be. Even trying to hail a town car at most city airports requires a bit of a time wait. There a relatively new service called Uber that aims to take care of those pesky waits. Uber will provide you with a “sleek black car” in minutes when you text a certain number. You can also use Uber by downloading the Android or iPhone app (free).
As soon as you send a text or request a car through the app, Uber will send one of its drivers to your location. Once a text has been sent, Uber will then tell you how long it will be until your car arrives via text. When your ride shows up, Uber will send you another note stating that the car has arrived. How do you pay for your ride? We’ll get into that in a minute. What’s really interesting is that not only has Uber taken off around the world, but this company has also just gained a nice bit of funding.
Uber has gained some impressive investment partners including Goldman Sachs. By raising $32 million, the company plans to bring its service global. Since the idea for Uber began in Paris, France, Uber will be focusing on Paris as its first international city. Parisians in need of a ride can start sending a text to Uber or using the app service as soon as today. Currently, Uber is building a large network within Paris, and the company is already enjoying a large amount of success in the bustling city.
In addition to Parisian offerings, Uber is already in most of the big cities within the U.S. including NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. With additional funding and plenty of backers, you can expect to see Uber in a city near you --- no matter where you live – sometime in the very near future. Now that the funding news and business side of Uber is out of the way, let’s talk about what happens if you request an Uber car.
Payment and Pricing
First, you should know that paying for an Uber car is as simple as using your smartphone. The credit card that’s currently connected to your smartphone will be charged automatically when you use the Uber service. In addition to the cost of the actual ride, a tip will be added to your card, so you don’t have to worry about tipping your driver (the amount of that tip is not indicated on the Uber site). As far as the cost of the ride goes, here’s where it gets a tad tricky.
Depending on your location, the cost of your Uber ride will vary. For example, you may find that Uber is more expensive to use in NYC than in Paris (just an example, not actually a truth). When looking at the Uber site or app, select the city where you are currently located. Uber will then provide you with a base amount (usually around $7), a per mile fee, and a per time fee. A time fee is charged when you travel under 11/mph and a distance fee is charged when traveling over 11/mph (not both).
This way, if you’re stuck idling in traffic in NYC, you don’t have to pay a large distance fee. These fees are calculated using GPS tracking data that is generated by your smartphone. If any tolls or other fees arise, these fees will be added to your tab as well. In addition, flat fees (to and from certain locations) are available. As you can see, Uber is a well thought-out service. If you are ever in need of a car and you are located in an Uber city, give this app a try – you’ll never have to stand on the corner waiting to hail a cab again.