This weekend Uber, the app which connects customers with taxis, arrived in Glasgow. The company is already working in sixty countries (and growing) yet banned in many cities. Is Uber Glasgow the wheel deal for riders or is this expansion accelerating the company into more legal fights?
What Is Uber?
Uber is a taxi service which hopes to offer fair fares to customers by connecting them to local drivers in their area.
The Uber app is available for free download on smartphones. There is also an offer for new customers, if you sign up through a friend, you get your first ride for free!
How Does Uber Work?
Customers create a ‘rider account’ with their personal information and credit card details.
When customers need a taxi, the app will either pick up their location using GPS and WiFi or alternatively, the customer can input an address. The slider at the bottom of the map show which Uber registered cars are available and provide an estimated price.
The app shows an image of the driver, his / her name, type of car and the registration. There is also the handy function which tracks the driver so the customer knows how close their ride is.
Our examples from Austin
The final fare is taken from the card details on the account and put directly into an Über account. The customer and Uber registered driver do not exchange cash.
Gordon (from Glasgow) used Uber during its first weekend in Glasgow. He says he spent a while trying to find one in his area and nothing was showing on the app so he ordered a private taxi like he normally would. This taxi ended up letting him down so he cancelled and checked Uber again. There was registered driver in his area so he booked it. The car arrived within five minutes and the final fare was £2 cheaper than the private hire he would normally have used. The lack of drivers in your location may improve as the Über profile increases and more people join the fleet.
An example from Glasgow (thanks to Gordon)
Uber Registered Drivers
Uber registered drivers must meet the following specifications:
- Be over 21 years old
- Hold a full driving licence
- Own a car (2000 or 2005 newer)
- Have car insurance
- Pay for fuel and car service
- Pass a background check
This has given many people over the world the opportunity to become self-employed or top up their wages with a side job.
Why The Car Crash News?
Uber has had some bad press over the past six years. There have been customer rape allegations, accusations of tax avoidance (their business accounts are set up in the Netherlands so the taxes don’t go directly to the country it’s set up in), and protests from other taxi companies/drivers worldwide.
Transport for London (TfL) has taken Uber to the High Court as they argue that the pricing system Uber uses is like that of a meter system, which only black cabs are authorised to use in the city. A High Court judge has ruled in favour of Uber. You can see why after years of prepping for ‘The Knowledge‘ that London cabbies may feel they aren’t getting an easy ride with Uber as the new competition.
Nowadays we do everything by the touch of an app – shop, check in, order food, manage our money. Is Uber the next app to put the customer behind the steering wheel?
* We have no affiliation with Uber. There are other taxi services out there such as Lyft who offer a similar service in some cities
Update: We used Lyft as much as Über in Austin this year. Drivers appear to sign up for both companies, two main differences are that Lyft allows tips and has a stricter sign-up process, according to one driver.