I picked up my phone, launched the app and booked a car. In 10 minutes, I’m on my way to my destination. I can follow the route and I know my estimated time of arrival.
Ever-so-often, a technology or product changes the lives of millions of people. Uber, the multibillion dollar silicon valley startup, has earned itself a place in the history of the internet and transportation, changing how people move in urban areas.
In India, Uber has had a massive impact on the technology savvy population. Earlier, going from one place to another without your own vehicle was a complicated task. I remember standing under the sun to catch an auto-rickshaw. Both luck and bargaining skills mattered if you wanted one. Buses weren’t an option either, partly because they were filthy and partly because there were very few travelling particular routes.
Getting a taxi, too, meant you should order one a day before the journey. Calling up a service, telling them the location and time of pickup and hoping that the driver makes it to the correct place wasn’t convenient, and this made it an unpopular choice for short distances. Uber changed the way taxis operate in India, and these older services don’t even exist anymore.
I’ve been using Uber for over an year now and it has become my favourite mode of transport (after personal vehicle). It solves three of the biggest issues with public transport:
- Available anytime, anywhere. The fact that you can order a cab right from your phone with the convenience of sending the driver the pickup location makes Uber my #1 choice.
- Drop-off location is your choice. Remember those days when rickshaw drivers simply said ‘no’ when you told your destination? Drop-off location is no more a choice for Uber drivers, giving you the final right to go wherever you want.
- Cheaper yet better. At Rs.6/km (or Rs.7/km in some areas), Uber is usually cheaper than rickshaws. And even if it is a little costlier than a rick, you get a ride in an AC cab beating the pollution. Also, paying through PayTM or credit card makes it even more convenient.
There are a few noticeable drawbacks: no internet pack means no uber, and Uber is not a 100% assured alternative. On multiple occasions I have not been able to order an Uber because there were no drivers nearby. But then again, are rickshaws or buses assured?
Uber as enabled me to travel alone safely. It has simplified the one step that hampers me from travelling in cities. I use Uber to travel to meet friends or go to the theatre. Moreover, I prefer Uber over my own vehicle when I’m going to places where finding parking is a nightmare. Uber is my saviour when I visit other cities where I don’t have personal transportation. In many small ways, Uber has created a foundation to improve the future of transport.
There is Ola, Jugnoo and many more alternatives to Uber, but it is brand loyalty and payment convenience and availability that always makes me choose this service.
Do you use Uber? How has your experience been? Leave a comment below!
If you haven’t yet signed up to Uber, you can do so and enter this code to earn a Rs. 150 free ride: adityac90