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First look: Jenny Tiffen tries out Uber

By Jenny Tiffen - 7 January 2016 15

Uber

My husband and I went to the Gold Coast early last month. It was an amazing, kid-free trip. Since it was just the two of us, we thought we would try something new. Your first time with anything is always something to remember. It’s all a bit scary and I am the first to admit, I am THAT person that when stepped outside my comfort zone, I initially think “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE”.

So, when I finished applying my hot-pink-lippy and I heard my husband calling, “Meet me out the front babe, our Uber driver is on his way” that I thought: “This is it. We are going to be murdered”.

I know there’s a lot of controversy and confusion around Uber in general. I do feel for the taxi drivers that have saved up a motza to have their own business and fork out for their taxi-plate. But… one thing you can always count on in life is CHANGE. I personally believe transport companies will find new opportunities and remain competitive in an uber-world. More on this later.

It was so easy… like I said HUSBANDS can even do it! In our house I am kinda the one that DOES ALL THE THINGS. I am guessing many wives can relate. If we go out, I organise the sitter, book the restaurant, tee it up with our friends and cook for the children before we head out the door. So, I was more than a little shocked that while I was preening myself…. one of my tasks was eliminated! Hubby had booked the transport!

He had downloaded the Uber App to his phone. He told the software a few things about himself {or he might have even signed-in with facebook because facebook knows everything!}. Punched in the pick-up address and BINGO – Harry in his Toyota Yaris was on his way!

When I grabbed my bag and headed down to the front steps. I could see Harry. I knew it was him immediately because he looked JUST like his profile picture. I know that sounds crazy but he looked exactly like his picture. I really liked this. I got into the backseat thinking that I was still going to die, but feeling a bit better about the whole situation {because Harry looking like his photo proved nothing, but meant everything}.

Harry’s Toyota was clean. Like really clean. Professional-car-kind-of-clean. He might have had young kids but I would have never known. His car smelt so nice and he didn’t have any strange body odor either. Harry was originally from South Africa and loving the Gold Coast. He had been living here for 8 years and has two boys. His wife left him last year but they are remaining good friends. He actually has a suspicion that she wants him back. Nice. Oh yes, we had a good ol’ yarn. It was fantastic!

Harry was so friendly. I was still convinced that he was just warming us up for the kill, mainly because my mum always said that a lot of sickos are actually very charming to the naked eye.

At one part during the journey I experienced a little fret. I had just opened my purse only to realise I had no cash. Like zero dollars. Immediately I thought this would cause problems because it dawned on me that this local citizen is unlikely to have credit card facilities on board. Yikes. I started to think of plan B scenarios to rectify this, such as pull over at an ATM. Hubby wouldn’t like this. He likes to be organised. How are we going to pay?! Uber sucks. I was like the old way better. Cab Charge vouchers are the best! –But wait, hold that thought.

When we arrived at our destination, Harry said “Have a great night folks!” and we got out. There is no exchange of money. It is all taken care of when you set up your Uber account. I loved that there was no ticking meter! No stress about how much this is going to cost. An estimation was sent at the time of booking. Quite excellent indeed. Especially when we had to jump out quickly on our second Uber experience to the airport.

We didn’t die! Not even close. We didn’t die the next time either. Colin was sitting at the end of our street in his red Ford Focus when we booked him to take us to the airport. He arrived in seconds and even had mints and bottles of water for us when we got in. Again so friendly, for example his sister owns one of the local cafes and he is currently renovating his bathroom. Colin is still looking for the ‘one’ but in the meantime loving meeting people while Ubering around. He quit is second job because the cash Uber gives him enough to basically stay home and renovate things! Amazing.

I am almost an Uber expert! I had my fair share of Uber sessions during the silly season here in Canberra too. For anyone who is a little apprehensive to try something new, I get you. I AM you! But I must admit, it was fantastic and I urge you to give it a try. It’s very easy and definitely personal yet cheaper service. I don’t know how great it will be when I am traveling with my family {4 kids probably equals no Uber for you}. A condition to be an Uber driver is you need to be able to seat 4 passengers. And I doubt there is a way of specifying CAR SEATS PLEASE. But like I said, that is just one {of many} ways where taxis and other transport services still own the market.

And do you know what? I have actually been in more taxis since Uber too. That probably sounds like a contradiction, but hear me out. Since I have been Ubering around, it has got me into the habit of not taking my own car if one, or both of us want to have a couple of drinks. We have Uber’d out to a restaurant but will grab the cab that is parked, waiting in a bay on the way home. I feel a culture shift and I think it is going to be for all.

Thoughts? Hit me, I know you will have plenty.

Jenny Tiffen

 

 

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15 Responses to
First look: Jenny Tiffen tries out Uber
Holden Caulfield 3:22 pm 11 Apr 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

It won’t last long once self driving vehicles hit the road anyway.

In reality, that will be a few years away I expect. The technology/products will no doubt be ready sooner, but I expect government and insurance issues will delay the actual rollout/integration of autonomous vehicles.

As to your comments about the profits to be made from being an Uber driver, I’m hardly surprised that it’s not lucrative. But I’ll keep using Uber in Canberra while I can in preference to Taxis, for the simple fact its usually a lot more convenient and cheaper.

wildturkeycanoe 6:41 am 11 Apr 17

dungfungus said :

Twelve months on, I wonder how the Uber story is in Canberra, especially from the point of view of the operators.

Hopefully, better than Melbourne: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/vic-uber-drivers-strike-over-224907485.html

From what I have been reading, Uber drivers are doing it tough. There just isn’t enough money in it to remain viable for many people. If you haven’t got any car expenses [such as loan repayments for the car] then you can possibly make some cash, but there are some who have almost lost money driving for Uber, thanks to the increased profits going to the parent company. It won’t last long once self driving vehicles hit the road anyway.

dungfungus 12:58 pm 10 Apr 17

Twelve months on, I wonder how the Uber story is in Canberra, especially from the point of view of the operators.

Hopefully, better than Melbourne: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/vic-uber-drivers-strike-over-224907485.html

Skyring 4:20 pm 11 Feb 16

Cold water, minties, charging cables… One Uber driver I know even has wifi onboard. How come the taxi industry is charging more and delivering less?

JimCharles 4:25 pm 23 Jan 16

I love it, my taxi experiences in Canberra have not been great.
The first one i ever got the driver didn’t know where to go, neither did i, and he asked for 60 bucks for a 10 minute trip. That was 10 times as much I paid overseas in a similar-sized provincial town.
The Uber drivers seem OK, they depend on reputational feedback and the three I’ve used have all been hard-working and very keen to impress. One even had a shirt and tie on, he was like a limo driver.

Jenny Tiffen 3:20 pm 23 Jan 16

georgiamorris said :

Great article Jenny. Informative and fun to read at the same time.

Thank you for the nice feedback 🙂

Jenny Tiffen 3:20 pm 23 Jan 16

rubaiyat said :

So how much did it cost?

Any change out of $5?

So, a trip the airport with Uber from our place is around $17 vs $32 in a Gold Coast Cab 🙂

Jenny Tiffen 3:18 pm 23 Jan 16

Nilrem said :

Half a dozen trips around Canberra, and I’m very impressed with Uber. So is my wallet. The app is fantastic. Why didn’t cabs think of this?

I feel the same way. I feel sorry for the cabs… BUT it is a reminder to all businesses to stay current and continually think into the future. I am hoping Kodak makes a come back!

screaming banshee 7:02 pm 10 Jan 16

Cab-charge vouchers?
Peter Slipper, is that you?

rubaiyat 5:27 pm 07 Jan 16

Postalgeek said :

I’m still amused by the story of the woman who accepted the 7.9 surge multiplier and then complained about a $720 fare from Sydney foreshore to Blacktown on NYE.

…plus the tip to the postilion, and the apples for the matched white Andalusian mares.

She will never forget the experience of gliding down Parramatta Road, regally waving to the adoring used car yards gathered on either side of this glamorous Avenue of Dreams.

After all the journey is the reward!

…that and the Show Bag flashing light tiara.

dungfungus 3:56 pm 07 Jan 16

rubaiyat said :

So how much did it cost?

Any change out of $5?

I think I am starting to like you.

Postalgeek 3:48 pm 07 Jan 16

I’m still amused by the story of the woman who accepted the 7.9 surge multiplier and then complained about a $720 fare from Sydney foreshore to Blacktown on NYE.

If you’re going to use it, understand how it works.

rubaiyat 3:03 pm 07 Jan 16

So how much did it cost?

Any change out of $5?

georgiamorris 3:00 pm 07 Jan 16

Great article Jenny. Informative and fun to read at the same time.

Nilrem 1:42 pm 07 Jan 16

Half a dozen trips around Canberra, and I’m very impressed with Uber. So is my wallet. The app is fantastic. Why didn’t cabs think of this?

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