Uber is one of the big names in the new field of peer-to-peer ride-sharing. With an easy-to-use app and huge coverage areas, Uber allows anyone to get a ride at anytime with a few clicks on a smartphone. Founded in March 2009, Uber has grown to offer services throughout the United States and in 57 countries worldwide, helping to change the way we view ride-sharing. It also has fed the craving for customized service that is so prevalent today. Below, we look at some of the main concerns about Uber’s ride-sharing services, including price, speed, safety, and user-friendliness.
- Price estimates
Uber is undoubtedly one of the most widespread ride-sharing services, meaning that users can rely on Uber in more locations than other services. Uber is available in 58 countries and in North America, Uber is available in 176 cities. Additionally, Uber has high usability and customizability, meaning that the app is easy to use, and that riders have more control. For example, for a higher cost, riders can arrive to their destination in a luxury vehicle, or, for a lower cost, riders can ride with a friend and split their fare. Uber drivers generally use their own cars for pick-up, but users have control over size and quality. Riders can request a taxi, uberX car (budget-friendly option), black car, SUV, or luxury vehicle.
While prices fluctuate by location, time, and car preference, Uber always allows you to get price estimates before you commit to your trip. These estimates are based on the expected time and distance of your ride. Tipping is also available through the app, but there is no required tipping fee. On average, the cost to use a basic Uber car (UberX) is as follows:
- Cost per mile of $1.48
- Min. Ride fee of $1.70
- Safe Rides Fee of $1.00
- Cancellation fee of $10
Uber is designed for usability. Since reservations, ride information, payment, and reviews are all in the app, riders have a hassle-free experience. Additionally, the app now offers a "Split Fare" option, making riding with others easy. To use Uber, download their app on your device and register. After registration, simply open the app and enter in your destination to request a ride. Users can also choose their preferred driver and car. When a driver arrives, users will get a notification on their device. After the ride, pay in-app and review the experience.
On average, Uber riders wait 4 minutes and 16 seconds for their driver to pick them up. When reserving a ride, users receive an Estimated Time of Arrival for their convenience. Uber has a reasonable wait time (an average of about four minutes) and all payment, driver rating, etc. is available through the app. With such convenience, it's no wonder more and more people are choosing Uber over traditional taxicab services.
- Surge pricing
- Independent contractors
Of course, with the good comes some bad. Uber is notorious for their surge pricing, which raises the fare for rides at certain times of the day or during periods of high demand. While this is good for Uber drivers, who are independent contractors, it can be inconvenient for riders looking for a cheap lift.
There have been riders who have complained about their driver and their qualifications. It is also important to remember that users have the ability to rate and view the ratings of their Uber drivers. As of Spring 2016, all Uber drivers were independent contractors. As such, each Uber driver was screened to ensure:
- No DUI or other drug related driving violations or severe infractions
- No history of reckless driving
- No fatal accidents
- No sexual offenses
- No violent crimes
- No hit and runs
- No resisting or evading arrest
- No gun related violations
- No driving without insurance or suspended license charge in the past 3 years
During the screening process, the following tools were used:
- National Sex Offender Registry screen
- Social Security Trace (a lifetime-long record)
- County courthouse records going back 7 years for every county of residence
- Federal courthouse records going back 7 years
- Multi-State Criminal Database going back 7 years
- Motor Vehicle Records (past and present)