A reader on Uber

A reader writes in:

A bit of feedback for you, and if you choose to publish, I hope will send a bit of a message from a platform that has been an advocate.

Bride and I have adopted and loved the app, the service and the convenience. We also loved the price (typically not overly price sensitive – but it was a distinct bonus). However, last nights experience was not so good and had an element of biting the hand that feeds.

We were traveling from Khandallah to Newtown for a party leaving at 6.30pm. Clocked on the app to be told that there was a ‘surge rate of 1.5x normal rate’ to encourage more Uber drivers onto the road. We swallowed the dead rat and booked. $56 to Newtown (with a driver who bad mouthed other cab companies from start to finish – chatty guy and nice enough, but not classy or my preferred backtrack en route).

Leaving party went to book via app, ‘surge rate 2x normal fare applies’. Bollocks to that. Called Wgtn Combined, cab there within 15 and happy to text on arrival as was p!ss!ng cold and we were down a driveway. That same journey was $43 (and blissfully quiet!).

I know you have been a vocal advocate of Uber and market driven demand, I though I might whore your platform to fire a shot across their bows and warn them against premature complacency.

I recently had a 2x surge rate also, but that was from Wellington Airport at 1.30 am in the morning. Normally when prices get that high, I’ll choose a taxi instead. However there were none there, and around 30 people in a queue waiting for one.

So I had a choice of paying a higher rate for a guaranteed ride in ten minutes, or spending an indefinite amount of time queuing for taxis. I went for the Uber.

So yes I am a fan of Uber, but also not an uncritical one. My main frustrations to date are:

  • Not enough drivers in Wellington. Often have a fair wait for a driver
  • The estimated times for a pick up are often on the low side – ie they say six minutes and it takes ten
  • Surge pricing does occur fairly often

But overall still very happy with them.

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