Why I love Uber

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I wasn't feeling well the other day and took a half day off from work. There were a few things I wanted to finish and foolishly thought I could do a few hours work and come back home to bed. I took UberX to work and back home because I was just not well enough to deal with with walking and public transit. Looking back, I wasn't well enough for work, but that is another issue.

In the pre-Uber days I would have stayed home (which I should have done) because experience gave me zero faith in DC cabs. To me cabs are like cats, if you call them they don't always come when you want them. I came to the DC metro area to live about 18 years ago, I lived without a car, so taxis were a possible option in the toolkit of transportation options. Cabs were these things you caught downtown. When I moved to Shaw, well over a decade ago, cabs were still those things you caught on the street, because the few times I tried calling for one failed time after time. Back then I shouldn't have been too surprised, I couldn't get a pizza delivery to come to my house, much less a taxi. If I needed to go to the airport I would either book a flight where I could use Metro or used SuperShuttle. The only time a cab has taken me to the airport was when it was arranged by my employer, and that was Red Top out in VA.

Then there was experiencing bad taxi service secondhand from roommates. One roommate from Philly wanted a cab to take her a few blocks from the house to the metro station because it was raining really hard. She called, and waited, and waited, and waited, and no cab showed up, even  after she called to find out what was taking so long. Another roommate, a South American who was staying with nuns in Brookland before moving in with me, had taken a cab from there to Shaw with two pieces of luggage, and was charged $60 for the one way trip. This was back in the day of zones.

But to be fair I did stay with two guys who had good taxi mojo. One was a bartender and had a better sense of cabs and cab companies. So most of the time when they called a cab, from this one company they knew well, a cab came within 10-20 minutes. But even then, I was still distrustful of DC cabs.

When Uber first came on the scene it was for the black sedans and it was about $15-20+ a pop. That was a little too much for me. But I liked the idea, that if worse came to worse, it was an option. I didn't sign up until this year. It was because of word of mouth, in the jury room. One of the jurors regularly took cabs to come to the courthouse, and had been burned by taxis just one time too many and was fed up, but not fed up enough to use Metro. Another juror suggested Uber. The juror tried it and was overly enamoured with the service. Their songs of praise and comparisions won me over enough to try them out. This year has been the year of illness and having an Uber taxi has been great when leaving the doctor's office and I really don't want to be around a lot of people. So basically I use Uber when I am not in the mood to deal with crap.

I still use regular cabs. I hail those on the street. I get into the cab before I tell them where I want to go. If a cab won't let me in and wants to haggle first, I ignore the cab and try to hail another. These are the days when I can deal with crap.

I have heard the defenders of the DC cab system and the best comparision I can come up with is, regular cabs are like an old boyfirend who says you're crazy, making things up, that didn't happen, it must be that time of the month and you just don't understand his problems. Uber is like the guy who tells you you're beautiful, smart, funny and we should do this again sometime.

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