3 Big Fouls From My First Uber Rides

Jim Luff
Posted on February 1, 2017

(Wikimedia Commons photo)
(Wikimedia Commons photo)
They say it's really hard to knock something unless you've tried it. So, last weekend I made it a point to travel by Uber everywhere I went. The industry says we are not "anti-TNC." We just want them to be regulated on a level playing field. Yet, we shun anyone who uses them and spew about TNC dangers. I'm glad I took many Uber rides and learned how it works, how it fails, and most importantly, why they will never, ever be competition for clients seeking luxury transportation from a discreet professional chauffeur. Those are all key words to remember.

Ride #1: As I confirmed my destination with my Uber driver, he confirmed back he knew where it was, that the two partners who owned the restaurant were suing each other, and that he knew this because he drove one of them home from a DUI/DWI appearance in court and things didn't go so well for him. Wow! Moral of this story: Don't share anything private with your Uber driver. What goes on in the car does NOT stay in the car.

Ride #2: As we waited and waited and waited for our Uber to arrive, he finally calls to say he is lost and needs to know exactly where I am. As I explain to him I am in front of a Marriott Hotel, he shares with me his GPS says he is going away from us so he needs to get turned around. He needs me to text him the address of the Marriott Hotel so he can put it into his phone's GPS system. Upon his arrival, rather than pull into the portico of the hotel, he loads us up in a traffic lane in front of the hotel. As we traveled to our destination, we listened to Jesus music and preaching on the radio for the 10 minute drive. I'm not sure which of those two incidents was the bigger foul.

Ride #3: We ordered two Ubers at one time to take a female companion home. Ours arrived first. I asked the driver if our friend could sit in his car until her Uber arrived as it was very cold out. He said, "Sure" and then proceeded to put the car in gear and take off with her in the car. I had to make him stop so I could explain it to him again. The biggest problem here was a language barrier. He barely spoke English and my Hindi is a little rusty to say the least.

It was an enlightening experience all the way around. I have never thought of our industry as being a true competitor of TNCs. In California, Public Utilities Commission regulations specifically prohibit service not “pre-arranged,” which is by intention to avoid competition with taxi services. Although, if I ask you to pick me up in five minutes, I suppose that qualifies as “pre-arranged.”

The bottom line is the service is what you might expect from any Johnny-Come-Lately who wants to use his car to drive strangers around. There is no training program, and what comes out of the mouth of a TNC driver (or his radio) is unexpected, unfiltered, and unprofessional.

Related Topics: client feedback, customer service, Jim Luff, on-demand service, operations, Shop Talk blog, TNCs, Uber

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 3 )
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  • Anthony

     | about 2 years ago

    No professional driver would waste 14 hours per day to get taken advantage by guber. Only 4% of guber drivers have stayed with guber over 12 months. Guber was fined 20,000,000 millions dollars for predatory lending tactics for vehicles loans and for lying about the new york guber driver that made 90k in one year( 4 years later) And those damm commercials that coax everyday folks that they can drive, get paid, hang out a a park, and months later realize uncle sam wants a % of their 90k :) Great technology/bad execution Failed business model

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