TL;DR: It’s AWESOME! You have to try it once. Free ride promo-link below!
I never felt the need for Cabs or even not much use for Public transport as I like to use personal vehicle to move around in the city. I have both Car (Toyota Etios) and a Bike (Royal Enfield Classic 500) so it makes very convenient for me. Due to this I never got to know the popularity behind this new smart Cab service known as Uber. I remember downloading the app once last year somewhere in May/June but quickly uninstalled it as I didn’t like the idea of providing my credit card details upfront and it was the huge turn-off for me. Also I had the feeling that I can anyway get a cab or an auto anywhere and whenever I want.
During my short-tenure (read: 3 months) of professional life at Bangalore when I was working in Webyog, Inc, I had to bear the sky-touching cost of Autorickshaw which seldomly insisted on using the Trip Fare meter to travel and BMTC busses were pretty expensive too. I still had a thing against the cabs because of the mindset that they are pretty expensive (₹15-20/km) which is multiple of what I was used to with personal vehicle back in Delhi. Well soon after that, in Oct’2014 I came back to my hometown Delhi and routine was back to the basics.
My hate affair with Radio Taxi/Cabs was long-lived until this last long weekend (3rd-5th April’2015) when I had to fly to Bangalore something happened. I used Delhi Metro Airport Express Line to travel from my Office (Noida) to Terminal 1-D, IGI (Indira Gandhi International) Airport, Delhi with ease. My Indigo flight was marked to touch-down at KIA (Kempegowda International Airport), Bangalore was 9:10 PM.
I never was fan of the Radio Taxi or Autorickshaw but Uber changed my perception against the same.
While waiting for my flight to take off and listening to Coldplay’s Fix You, it came to my mind, “How are you going to travel from Airport to the Hotel?“, which was at MG Road some odd 45 kms away. KIA is located on outskirts of the Bangalore city. Yes! I know Vayu Vajra(BMTC Airport bus) was there but 2 hours of travelling in a bus to get off few kms away from my Hotel and then again taking an Auto or Cab was something I wasn’t ready for. I wanted a more direct solution with comfort. Immediately a promotional email from Uber which came few days back flashed into my mind which said something about Free first ride upto ₹600. I fired up the mail client on my Lumia and searched for it. Yes! The offer was sitting there in Trash waiting to be flushed out permanently. So here starts my experience with UBER:
I did download the app and noticed upon Logging in that Uber no more asked for Credit card details only, now it had an alternate option to setup a PayTM wallet registered with your mobile number. I already use PayTM for quick Mobile/DTH recharges so I had some ₹120 in the wallet. Uber instantly hooked on to my PayTM wallet and I was ready to go. All of this happened within 3 minutes. I mean even before my song was finished I was ready to order a UberX with a pickup ETA of 1 minute. Impressive stuff huh! 😀
Soon, announcement were made to turn off the electronics/mobile phones and flight was ready to take off. As soon as I landed at KIA, Bangalore, I was skeptical what if no cab would be available at the airport that too at night. But as soon as I opened the Uber app, I was greeting with this:
I was ultra impressed, come on. For UberX, 1 minute of waiting time and ₹8/km was unbelievable. I immediately set my pickup & drop-off destination and it was booked. I was greeted with the Driver details and option to call or message him. Before I could do anything, I received a call from the Driver and in less than 60 seconds I was sitting inside the cab with my luggage in the boot which was on its way to the city. I was wonderstruck by such an amazing service. I mean seriously no hassle at all.
About the Cab/Ride:
Cab was a Toyota Etios! Ha! I own that car so naturally I LOVED IT. The car was clean and had a pleasant fragrance. Air Conditioner was working perfectly although I requested the Driver to turn it off and instead open the Windows (Bangalore Weather! <3). Driver had a smartphone with Uber app opened which is responsible for navigation and tracking down the clicks (read: kms) travelled so as to calculate the fare and deduct it automatically from the Rider’s mode of payment, PayTM wallet in my case. This whole cashless transactional system makes it awesome as you don’t have to worry about extracting exact change as per the meter or even carry any money with you at all. All you need is your smartphone with a linked payment medium.
I got to my destination in 45 minutes and driver got out and took my luggage off from the boot. He then tapped on the “End Trip” button in his app and immediately I got the notification with the detail of my trip and the charge. It was ₹0.00 (click on the receipt below for larger version). Oh Yes! I was so engrossed in the trip that I forgot about the promo of Free First Ride upto ₹600.
Below the fare details there was an option to rate the driver out of 5 stars for which I did rate him 5 stars. Same rating panel was there for Passenger on the Driver’s Uber app screen. He rated me 5 star and left after greeting me “Thank you and Goodnight sir”. So much for technology eh?
Is it Safe?
Yes, I did travel as late as 1 AM in Bangalore in the cab and felt just fine. There was no moment when I had even a bit of insecurity. Despite all the verifications and validation, you still can’t predict a human’s intention. It’s way more complex than just being on psychotic levels. But, predicting what actions someone might take on the next moment is something one can’t verify. It’s all about when a normal(good) person decided to go berserk or a abnormal(bad) person decided to make right choices.
As soon as you book a cab, you get Driver’s mugshot, Rating, Cab’s registered number, Driver’s Driving License number and Mobile number. You can also cancel the booking if you don’t find the driver to be apt for you. App also has a mechanism to share the above details with your location and ETA to the destination with one tap with your loved ones. Also, Uber has an SOS option. You can tap on the button if you feel something isn’t right and it’ll connect to nearest PCR immediately.
So all together, Uber has really ramped up security features after safety concerns from users and all the controversies in the past.
During my 3D/4N stay at Bangalore I had privilege to use Uber multiple times for many short trips inside City and I am surprised to say, It didn’t fail me once. Cab was there when needed and everything was swift and smooth. There was a promo offer going on in Bangalore on that specific weekend with code “HALFOFFBLR“. It provided a flat 50% discount on any Uber cab if taken between 12-5pm. I used it once or twice I guess. 😀
Uber – Striving to be “your personal driver”!
After end of my Delhi-Bangalore trip, I also took Uber on my way back to home from IGI Airport, Delhi as I was not in mood to travel via Metro by changing it thrice from multiple junctions. I was very tired. Same as before, the cab came with 5 minutes and I was at home under 1 hour.
Here is the itinerary of all the trips I had during my long weekend getaway:
- Superb Implementation! Very easy to use.
- Cashless payment is awesome.
- Clean Cabs and well-mannered drivers.
- Usually <10 minutes of waiting.
- Awesome customer support.#
- 2x-3x Fare in peak timing defeats the purpose.
Driver fooled me into paying the toll(₹90)Resolved#
- Windows Phone app is not as functional as Android/iOS counterpart which is lousy and not at all acceptable IMO.
# – As soon as I contacted Uber on Twitter with the receipt of the toll I had to paid. They instantly added ₹100 of credit in my account as a token of gratitude. Kudos to great customer support. *Thumbs up*
So here is the promo link I promised. Sign up using the link below and connect your Uber account to PayTM wallet. Book any Uber (GO/X/BLACK) using the app and ride wherever you want to and get ₹600 off on that ride. 😀
Pro-Tip: This promo will be only applicable on the first ride whether the Fare amount comes ₹50 or ₹500, you will get maximum of ₹600 off. So make sure to make the trip is worth it and use the max of it. I would advice you guys to call Uber’s greatest – Uber BLACK. I got a Toyota Camry on my way back. You may get even better one to ride in that too for free 😉
Enjoy the ride guys and share this post using the social button below to help your friends avail the promo too.