I took my first Uber ride this weekend and I loved it. In fact, I loved the experience so much that I took 4 Ubers in 1 weekend! Let’s start with my first experience and why it was such a good one.
This weekend we had a big group of out town guests visiting and the group was divided amongst two friends’ houses at opposite ends of the city. Obviously nobody wanted to have to be responsible to drive the group around, so we could all partake in the celebratory festivities. We decided to take an Uber, since there were 4 of us and the cost would be comparable to taking public transit, but without the hassle of waiting times, walking and potential transit delays.
I pulled up my app, pressed the ‘Request an Uber’ button and 4 minutes later our driver Xiaoming showed up in his Mazda 6 with the air conditioning blasting, music playing and a big smile on his face. I opened the door and he greeted me, “Hi Jennifer!” We chatted about how it was our first time using Uber and he told us it was his first week on the job. He said so far it was going very well and he was making a lot of money. Fifteen minutes later he dropped us off at the doorstep of our destination, and we said goodbye and stepped out of the car! No cash exchanging hands, no extra fees for using a debit or credit card, no awkward tipping.
Of course, I gave our driver a 5 star rating, as the whole experience was really seamless. What more could we ask for then to arrive at our destination quickly, comfortably and with friendly, personalized, hassle-free service. The trip costs us about $9 for 4 people — to take public transit it would have been $12. Why wouldn’t we use this service?!!
For the rest of the weekend whenever we had to get somewhere, we would pull up the Uber app and about 2-4 minutes later our personal driver would arrive. It all felt very posh.
Of our 4 trips this weekend 3 of the drivers had impeccable service. They were friendly, they were hassle-free, they were fast, and they personalized the experience. It was so fun to learn a little more about them and why they become Uber drivers.
One driver was a retired gentleman who split his time between Toronto and Florida. He had a group of golfing buddies who decided to all sign up to be Uber drivers and have a healthy competition with weekly wagers to see who could make the most money. He confessed to us that he was raking in the dough, since he was able to sign up as an Uber Select driver (drivers with black cars). He didn’t mention this to his friends, but he was cleaning up in the betting every week. He told us that in the past week he had made $2000 dollars and just the day before he made $750! He said at that rate, he could make a six-figure salary as an Uber driver. He was going to use the money towards a trip to Italy he was taking with his wife in a few months.
This brings me to our last driver of the night. This was the only experience that wasn’t hassle free. The only driver who I (hesitantly) gave a 1/5 star rating to for his service.
We ordered an Uber around 12:30am on Saturday, and there was a surge since it was in high demand for downtown Toronto at that time. I watched on the apps GPS as our driver clumsily circled our location, turning down side streets, making U-turns — he was obviously lost. We were confused as to why, since our pick up location was on a very well known main street in Toronto that was easy to find and didn’t have much traffic at the time. We finally spotted him down the block making a U-turn so we decided to walk to him. By the time we reached the car he had cancelled the trip on the app. He told me to request the service again (which I did) and he accepted. We hopped in the car and were on our way. He was the only driver that we did not chat with much. He seemed to be in a rush, and a bit flustered by his experience getting lost. Finally when he dropped us off at our destination he uttered a sound of grief. He had forgot to start the trip and our fare turned out to be only $3.50. He awkwardly looked at us and asked if we had any cash. The 4 of us felt awkward and a bit sorry for the man, since he had taken us to our destination, so we fumbled around in our wallets and purses. He ended up getting $11 in spare change and fare from us, which in retrospect was actually more than all of our other trips that day, all of which had been to and from the same destinations. We quietly exited the vehicle and my friends urged me to give him a 1 star rating. I thought about it and felt guilty for potentially sabotaging this man’s Uber career, but finally gave him the low rating the next day after thinking about it. I realized that this is how Uber works. The rating system is very important to the process because this is the only way to filter out the good drivers from the bad. There is no formal interview or hiring process so anyone who wishes can become a driver, pending their car has the proper paper work and they pass a background check.
After all of these trips, my husband was very intrigued by the whole process. He is a registered nurse and works 12 hour shifts 3-4 times a week at a hospital downtown. His previous part-time job was as a valet driver at a high-end restaurant where he got to drive really nice and expensive cars, and he loved it!
Last night as we were filtering through new rental properties, he mentioned he wanted to sign up to be an Uber driver. He often has long bouts of time where I am working that he is off. He works the same or more hours a week than the average person, but because of the way his shifts are scheduled he often gets bored and is looking for stuff to do in his time off. So he is currently in the process of becoming an Uber driver. He said he loves to drive and he thinks it will be fun to meet new people. Because there is really no risk involved, he said he would like to try it and see how it goes. Plus, it’s a great way for us to make some extra cash to help save towards a down payment on a house.
I will keep you posted on his experience and stories, but from our experience so far we are convinced that Uber is an excellent service that provides a fun, friendly, personalized, hassle-free customer experience!
Tell me about your Uber customer experience in the comments below!
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