A Review of Uber: The Private Driver Taxi App

posted in: Reviews | 1

Listen: I really hate driving to and from the airport. This is not to say I’d begrudge you a ride to the airport, it’s just…ugh. Traffic. Choosing the right parking option. Car seat wrangling, and maybe boarding a bus to get to the terminal. Making sure you actually get to the correct terminal, for that matter.

This wasn’t a big deal when we lived in DC. We lived two blocks from a metro station, so as long as we flew out of Reagan, we could skip the car ride altogether. Plus we only had one kid back then, so everything was infinitely easier. But these days we have a two child suburban lifestyle, so if we want to travel by plane, we will have to drive to the airport.

…or maybe not?

As it happened, on our most recent trip (to Houston, to visit Zoë “the Cookie Girl” Klasel), a friend needed to return an enormous rental car and pick up his regular vehicle from a mechanic in the vicinity of the airport, which meant we could help him with the car switch dance in exchange for a ride to the airport. That just left us on our own to figure out the ride home.

Enter Uber.

If you aren’t familiar with Uber, it’s a fancy towncar service with a twist. They work with a network of drivers so they know who is close to your location and available to carry passengers. You click a button on the Uber app to indicate where you would like to be picked up and what size vehicle you need, and they send the nearest driver your way. They handle all of the potentially annoying stuff, too. Your payment is handled securely and automatically (including tip), so you don’t need to rifle around for your wallet. They pass your name and phone number to the driver (and vice versa) so that you can be in touch in case of special requests, delays, etc. In general, they can get a driver to you within 10-15 minutes. Although they don’t provide car seats (yet), their vehicles are equipped with the LATCH system. They do recommend that once you have the driver’s contact information, you call and let them know that you are travelling with kids.

I was excited to give it a try, and I’d received a $20 off coupon code from a friend, so I figured that our return trip would provide just the opportunity we needed. And let me tell you…it was actually pretty awesome.

I clicked for pickup as we were disembarking from the plane, and promptly received a phone call from our driver. He let us know that he was about 5 minutes from the airport, I let him know we had two kids and their car seats with us.

Our driver was so charming and professional. He took our bags and helped install the car seats – he was the father of three small boys, so he was sensitive to the stresses of travelling with kids. Once we got everyone situated, it was time to ride. The driver and my husband chatted in the front seat while I read books to the girls in the back. I was amazed by how relaxed everything was. Usually the ride home from the airport is super tense – the grownups all sweaty from car seat installation and baggage Tetris, plus maneuvering traffic. The girls would pick up on our stress and get worked up, too. Not so, this time. Having an extra pair of hands when dealing with all the stuff meant that we could focus on keeping everyone calm. And we didn’t even have to find our wallets!

We had a great experience with Uber…and I found myself thinking about how this service could be really useful for parents of older kids, too. A great alternative for a kid who wanted a fancy ride to prom, for example, or an easy way to make sure grown kids weren’t going to drive home drunk after a party.

I was so impressed with the service, actually, that I wanted to share it with you guys. I got in touch with their customer service folks and asked if they would give Mom Meet Mom users a coupon code (that’s right – I asked them, not the other way around). And guess what? They said yes!

So, I’m delighted to offer you the following code: MOMMEETMOM

This code will get you $20 off of your first ride with Uber, good through the end of 2014…and hopefully you’ll have a great experience just like I did!

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One Response

  1. Sophia Liu was 6 years old when she was killed by an irresponsible Uber driver in San Fransisco. Since Uber is not a “taxi” service, the drivers are contractors instead of employees. Background checks are limited, and Uber is not required to carry malpractice insurance the way traditional taxi services are.

    So what does Uber do when a contract driver kills a 6 year old girl who was just trying to walk across the street with her mom? Deny responsibility for the driver’s actions and their own culpability in failing to do an adequate background check.

    As a result of this, there is a substantial case underway that will decide if Uber is in fact a taxi service, and if so, they will be held to the same standards (and therefore the same frustrations and expenses) as traditional taxi services.

    I suggest next time you book a town car if you dislike taxis so much. Car services have equally as high standards as taxi services. Uber is Russian roulette with people’s lives. Just ask Sophia’s family.

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