I love the idea of Uber. You can see where the cars are on your phone, exactly how long they will take to arrive, and pay without any cash. It’s brilliant, and as far as I’m concerned, the taxi companies are just raging because they rested on their laurels rather than getting their act together first.
That said, in practice things are somewhat different.
The criticisms surrounding its flaunting of regulation, and invasion of privacy are one thing, but at its core, their approach to business is just terrible at every turn.
I have used Uber everywhere from Denver to Dublin to London to Glasgow, and almost every single time there has been an issue.
From defaulting to an ‘Uber Black’ that was double the cost it should have been, to refusing to honour a free ride because the charge was in Euros instead of Pounds, to their patronising customer support, I am fed up.
Last night I paid just under £18 for a journey that I take regularly, that should have been £6 at most. Even in a black hack cab, the most expensive of all, it has never been more than £10.
Uber’s response is that you accept the ‘dynamic pricing structure’, as they reiterated over and over again in their customer support emails (signing off with ‘have a great weekend’, no less). For that (in Glasgow at least), you get faster access to a regular taxi that would have taken ages to pick you up if you had gone through the regular phone system.
There are plenty of arguments about how that’s the cost of choosing Uber. However, if Uber is some sort of premium taxi service, at least let’s be honest about that, rather than pretending it’s some sort of serious alternative. Paying £18 for a regular taxi masquerading as an Uber that should cost £5 is bullshit.
I have been burned many times by Uber, and I am fed up. Their service is misleading; their customer service is appalling; and if they don’t come back with some sort of refund, I will never use them again.