Uber... Isn't

Uber

denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing.

Uber, the most well-known ridesharing service, wants you to believe that it is an outstanding example of a ridesharing service. But it's kind of garbage.

Mister Money Mustache tried out driving for Uber and Lyft and it was not a terribly pleasant experience.

My first personal experience with Uber was at a dev retreat in Boulder, CO. We were staying in an AirBnb a couple of miles from the Hotel Boulderado and other neat places. I personally rode public transit from the airport, which was mostly fine after figuring out which bus I needed to be on. It only cost me a couple of bucks.

Then with the group we took Uber into town and back for a variety of outings. It was pretty decent, though I wasn't the one booking the trips so I don't know how much they cost. But it was a decent experience, so I decided to try Uber, because I needed to be at the airport at 6AM to make sure I got in for my 8AM flight. So I started looking at Uber's scheduled ride feature only to discover it's literally the stupidest way to implement a scheduled ride feature.

It's the equivalent of putting a cron job on your phone that tells Uber to place your ride.

That's all it does. It just requests a driver at the time that you say that you need one. It saves you all the trouble and headache of opening your phone and doing the thing you're doing now, later.

There's no guarantee that you'll get where you need to go when you need to go there, or that there will even be a ride available. They don't pop up somewhere and let people say, "Oh yeah, I'll be here tomorrow for that."

So I ended up calling a cab, who actually scheduled with me when I needed to be at the airport, and showed up when I needed him - guaranteed.


That was my first Uber experience that wasn't.

Today I'm leaving Boston, Massachusetts after being here for a couple of days. The company I'm interviewing with me had me take Uber and it has... been interesting. When I figured out where I needed to be in the airport to actually get a ride, it took about 10 minutes for Uber to find me a driver. Then traffic sucks in Boston, apparently, because it took us longer to drive 20 miles from the airport to my hotel than it did for me to fly from Fort Smith, AR to Dallas, TX. I mean, I guess that's not technically Uber's fault... but I probably could have just ridden the train(?). For like 1/3rd of the price. I mean, my driver was a cool dude to talk to, but that was pretty much the only good part about that ride.

The next ride was to the office. The pickup experience was pretty weird because it said the car was there about 5 minutes before he actually pulled into the shopping center where I had my breakfast. So I was looking all around to see if I maybe missed him or something? It was just weird.

After that, I decided that I'd just walk the mile to get some lunch. It was a lot less stressful for me, although I picked the wrong side of the road and there wasn't any spot so I had to go walk back around. But that's not really a problem, because I already need to lose some fat pounds.

After that I decided to go check out Boston Common, and I decided to try out an Uber Pool. Because I did that, Uber told me to go walk over to a place where there wasn't actually a good pickup spot. Good job, Uber. Also there was only a sidewalk on one side of the road, and I nearly got flattened trying to get from one corner to another. It really wouldn't have been any out of the way for my driver to turn down the road, pick me up, and then us turn left. I don't remember how much I "saved" on that trip, but we didn't actually pick anyone up until we got into the city.

Coming back via another Uber Pool was a pretty weird experience as well, just because Uber sent us around on the back roads instead of on the Interstate. Obviously they were hoping that we were going to have someone else to pick up, but we didn't.

This morning was pretty terrible, though. It was slightly raining, but very cold. I wanted to save some money for my potential future employers, though, so I told Uber that I'd like an Uber Pool to the airport - I had plenty of time to get there.

First problem, Uber didn't say anything about the weather. Because I would have paid the extra $6 to not have to wait in the rain. It said that my ride was 5 minutes away. For 10 minutes. It was almost 15 minutes before he showed up (I think he may have been blocked in due to an accident? You're telling me Uber can't figure that out or ask about it?). I walked a couple hundred feet to some awning to get out of the sprinkles, and Uber is like, "Wait, no! You need to go baaack! But by an entirely different 2-3 minute walk, not the 10s that it took you to get here!" Ugh.

Then it wanted to drop me off with a 15m walk to the airport. Wat. My driver was kind enough to actually drop me off at the terminal, because we didn't pick up anyone else, but really Uber, really? We would have had to go out of our way to get to where Uber was trying to send us. Plus, there's probably plenty of people at the airport ready to leave!

Anyway, that was my non-Uber experience with Uber the ridesharing program. Combine that with the garbage way that Uber actually treats employees, media, and everything else, and I'm really just not a fan. I'll probably use it on occasion, especially when public transit isn't a (real) option, but that was just a pretty miserable experience that I'm not eager to repeat.

Maybe I'll just make a competing service that actually pays drivers a decent wage, charging by the hour, and paying drivers for the wear & tear on their vehicles.

Maybe I'll call it Unter.

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