Tags: iPhone, Mobility, technology, Travel, Uber, Vision loss
I travel in and around the city on public transportation. I have heard so many horror stories at my job about paratransit that I have never even applied for it. Sometimes, I need to get somewhere in a hurry or need to go someplace that is difficult to get to using public transportation. My only option for these situations was to take a taxi, a costly option, but no more. Now, I have another good option, Uber.
What is Uber?
Uber is a ride sharing service. Think of it like a car service. It offers several advantages over taking a cab including price, payment method, ease of use and speed.
The price is about a third less than the price of a taxi and no money needs to change hands as payment for the trip is handled by the Uber app. You do not tip the driver — their reward for a good trip is a good rating from you after your ride. You can even get an estimated fare before taking your trip.
The Uber App
The Uber iPhone app is not very user friendly at first, but after a while it actually becomes very easy and convenient to use. The most difficult part is setting your destination, but you do not have to do that to request a ride – you can just let the driver know your destination when he arrives to pick you up. Once you request a ride, the app gives you an estimated wait time, the driver’s name, what type of vehicle he or she is driving and the license plate number. For those with vision, the app even provides a picture of the driver. The driver also knows your name. I find this helpful in identifying my ride, as I can ask, “Are you name?” and he can respond with my name.
A couple of things to be careful of when using Uber — sometimes when you double tap on the button to request your ride, a Surge Pricing notice will come up. This means that they are increasing the fare for your ride because it is a busy time. I tend to avoid Surge Pricing because usually a taxi becomes the cheaper option. Also, be sure you select UberX on the first screen. This is the least expensive option. If you need more space, then UberXL will give you more space for a higher fee. If cost is not an option, then Black Car will give you that luxury ride you so desire!
The Uber Drivers
Finally, I have had mostly good luck with the drivers. I did have one driver who told me we were at our destination, but when I got out I found out he was not able to find the correct address and he just dropped me off. On another occasion, I had another driver who could not immediately find the right address, but got out and helped me find the correct address which he had passed by. Using an app like Blind Square can help with this, but even Blind Square is not as accurate as is sometimes needed.