I just finished a week long trip to San Francisco. This time I didn’t rent a car, meaning I didn’t have to deal with the rental cost, gas cost, parking and the delays in shuttling back and forth to the airport car rental area – usually at least $500 for the week and sometimes much more. I just used Uber instead, a service that launched last summer that lets you call up a black car service from your mobile phone.
Here’s our overview of the service. You add a mobile app, create an account with your credit card, and when you want a car you hit a button. A black car comes to you via GPS in a couple of minutes, and you can see how far away they are on your phone. When your trip is done, your credit card is automatically billed.
I’m going to share all the data from the week with you here.
Here’s how things worked out. I used Uber six times during the week, and three of those uses were either to or from the airport (I got a ride from a friend the fourth time). That seems to be what I use taxis and rental cars in San Francisco for the most – going to and from the airport.
I went a total of 46.32 miles on those six trips and paid Uber a total of $273, and that includes tips (just under $6/mile). By my calculations the same trips in a normal taxi would have been about $120. Or with tips around $140. Uber is twice the cost of using cabs.
And worth every penny. My average wait time was just about 5 minutes. I’ve waited hours for taxis in San Francisco, and you never quite know if they’re actually going to show up or not. And Uber’s cars are Lincoln Towncars or similarly large and nice cars, not the nasty cramped things that you end up in with taxis.
Even if the cars were the same or worse it would be worth the extra fee just because I know I can get a car in a few minutes without any hassle or stress at all.
In the future I’ll definitely only be using Uber for trips where I don’t need to do a ton of driving. I hope I never have to get in a taxi again.
It won’t be easy for Uber, the taxi people are already starting to put their politicians to work trying to shut Uber down. But I do know one thing, as long as Uber is up and running, I’ll be a happy customer.