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My recent blog post about my first Uber (X) ride drew the expected agitated responses from some of the more feverish industry voices.
For those who don’t want to read it, in a nutshell: I waited patiently the morning of Oct. 26 for a metro bus to take me to work from a location near an auto repair shop where I’d dropped off my car. The bus didn’t show up. I needed to be at work at 9 a.m. So I got sweaty and desperate and hit the Uber app for the first time while standing in a Jack-In-The-Box parking lot. I figured I’m 6-foot, 2-inches tall with more stamina and strength than many flabby Millennials, so UberX drivers don’t really scare me.
If it's any consolation, I will be trying out the Blacklane, AsterRide and iCars apps in coming weeks, which I understand make use of fully vetted, licensed chauffeurs and drivers. But on that morning, I was like many other travelers who’ve tapped Uber in a pinch, both sober and drunk, including stakeholders in the limousine industry. (Don't worry, I won't out anyone's secret indiscretions, unless I suddenly get that Tourrette'sh--).
After feeling just a smidgeon of the guilt larded up from anti-Uber purists, I got over it quickly when I encountered a few revelatory articles about using Uber:
Here are some facts and questions to consider, however difficult or unpleasant they may be.
Now, for some questions:
OK, enough questions.
If hotels can do it, so can chauffeured car and taxi: Upgrade the cheap option. Take the on-demand tech or faster reservation equivalent, charge enough to make desired profit, and then do it better — if indeed on-demand fits your business model. Regardless, always provide specific and superior customer service targeted toward your clients. The last time I stayed in a hotel, it was a Marriott Extended Stay, not a Super 8 down the street. Although, if it had been 11 p.m. and no vacancies at my first choice hotels, I would have stayed at the Super 8, as I did years ago as a college student when I needed a cheap room at 2 a.m.
I’m not going to become a regular Uber user, nor do I endorse them. The next time I’m stuck needing a ride, I’ll use one of the above on-demand limo or taxi apps in L.A. If they have live cars waiting minutes away, I'll tap the app. If you’ve ridden with a good rival app to Uber, please email me about your experience at [email protected] or just post it below.
Risks and rewards, after all, are meant to be calculated.
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