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What’s An Uber?

Thursday, August 27th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Android, App Reviews, iOS
 
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I had a question from Jerry about a term many have you may have heard, but not been too sure what it is all about. He asks, “I know I sound old and stupid here, but what’s an Uber? I’ve heard my grandson talk about it, but I’m not sure how it works.

Jerry, Uber is an app and car-service company. Notice I didn’t use the word “cab.” That’s because Uber gets around regulations that require cabs to be licensed and strictly controlled in most cities. Uber presents itself as a ride sharing service. You download the Uber app to your smartphone and set up your ride using the app.

uber-shot-1

While taxi drivers drive numbered and licensed vehicles, Uber drivers use their own private vehicles. Also, no money is exchanged with the driver, you pay using the app.  The driver then receives a portion of that payment for “sharing” his or her car with you.

Since the Uber drivers are not traditional employees of a company in the way taxi drivers are, many people have expressed concern over issues like background checks. Uber says it does extensive background checks on employees, but there have been cases where Uber drivers have turned out to be criminals. Of course, there have also been cases where taxi drivers have been known to commit crimes.

Since there is no central office, you don’t have an HR director meeting each driver and getting a feel for the person. Plus the people you’re dealing with aren’t professional drivers.

Users are sent a picture of the driver and info on the car and its license plate to make sure they get in the right vehicle. Which is handy, since Uber vehicles aren’t marked like taxis. Instead of being sent out by a dispatcher, Uber driver check their apps to find out where services are needed.

Uber fares are generally a little lower than taxi fares, but not always. While many cities regulate the standard taxi fares, Uber uses “surge pricing” and raises prices during peak times. A ride that cost you one price on Tuesday could cost you a lot more on Thursday. The standard price could change every five minutes.

uber-fare-quote

The app also allows you to split the cost of the fare with other passengers.

uber-fare-split

Customer can also rate drivers and you won’t be paired again with a driver you dislike. Uber is not available in every city. The Uber app is available for both Android and iPhones in their app stores.

~ Cynthia

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3 Responses to “What’s An Uber?”

  1. kathy says:

    Appreciated the info on driver matching and variable pricing.

  2. LR says:

    Be cautious of Uber, along with no regulation, this include they aren’t required to carry insurance to cover you should you be in an accident while “ride-Sharing” with them! No company is going to cover your injuries even if your driver is at-fault! I would stay clear of Uber. At least with a taxi company there is some oversight and regulations as to insurance coverage and drivers background and driving record.

    • Tom says:

      In addition to the above, there is no drug screen or physical which is required by all commericial drivers. No commercial plates, or commercial insurance. This is illegal in Arizona, but our current governor put a freeze on any prosecution of this company. Suposedly until there can be new laws made I haven’t seen anything yet. This puts the public at greater risk, but the governor doesn’t seem to mind.

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