Getting to know the next big thing in taxi service.
Uber is the next-generation app-driven taxi service where you can book your ride with the push of a button. It’s an international taxi service but it’s already available in big South African cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town. It can be pricey but it’s a great option if you don’t have a car or if you plan on painting the town red but you don’t want to get pulled over by the Metro Police on your way home.
Once you downloaded the app from the Google Play Store or the App Store, you can set up your account. If you’re not a fan of carrying around cash, you can put in your card details but don’t worry, you can choose your method of payment before every ride.
Next up you can put in your pickup location and your destination as well as the type of Uber you want to order. In South Africa, you can choose between UberX, UberBLACK, and UberVAN. UberX is the most basic and cheap option but if you’re feeling flashy you can order a UberBLACK so you can ride with style in expensive cars like Audi, BMW or Mercedes. UberVAN is perfect for groups because it can fit up to seven people and you can split the fare. There are also Ubers for people with disabilities.
The app will give you an estimate of the fare and you can confirm or cancel. Once you confirmed the trip the app will search for a nearby driver and confirm the trip with them as well. Once they confirmed to pick you up you will get a notification of their estimated time of arrival as well as the name of your driver and the model and number plate of the driver’s car.
What to do when your Uber has arrived?
Once you double checked on the app that it is, in fact, your Uber driver you can climb in the back of the car. If you have luggage you can ask them to put it in the trunk of the car. If you ordered an UberBLACK it’s possible that you won’t be able to climb in the back so you can chill up front in the passenger seat next to the driver. Sometimes the driver will ask what you want to listen to on the radio and if the air-conditioner is fine to make sure you have a comfortable ride.
Where you’re on the road you can check the app to see your estimated time of arrival and the route of your trip. It’s up to you if you want to make small talk with the driver or if you want to ride in silence. Some of them have great stories to tell but sometimes it’s fine to keep to yourself if you’re not in a chatty mood.
Remember to give a big smile and say thank you when getting out of the car. They work long hours and see so many rude people that a smile can brighten up their day. Once the trip is over you’ll receive a notification on your smartphone as well as an email reminding you to rate your driver. Give them a good rating (if it was a pleasant ride) because they are going to rate you too.
Why choose Uber?
When I took a trip with Uber for the first time I had no one to show me how it works or how to practice proper Uber-etiquette but I figured it out with each ride. Uber is great and most importantly it’s a honest company and that’s hard to find in South Africa.
While visiting Cape Town for an internship in 2016 I forgot my iPhone on Airplane Mode in the Uber when he dropped me off at the V&A Waterfront. I was kind of hysterical because I was alone in a strange big city where I knew no one but as soon as I found the internet café in the mall I notified my mother on Facebook and went on the Uber website. They have a section on the website where you can notify them if you left something behind on your last trip and I immediately wrote to them about my dilemma and I gave them my mother’s phone number. After drinking a well-deserved cocktail to calm my nerves I found a payphone and called my mother to find out my previous Uber driver have already contacted her and he is on his way to bring me my phone. How great is that?
Uber can be expensive but it’s really worth it because you get great service you can trust and rely on.
Feeling lazy? Try Uber Eats
Uber recently introduced a new food delivery service and it’s so easy and cheap. It basically works the same as the Uber-app but you can order food from your favorite restaurants and have it delivered to your door for a small extra fee. Go ahead and try it next time you’re craving McDonald’s or Spur. Download it on Google Play Store or the App Store.
You can visit Uber’s website at https://m.uber.com/looking for more info. This company certainly gets a five-star rating from me.