Tuesday, June 30, 2015

OK, maybe Uber isn't all bad

The Wife and I went to a wedding in Saratoga, CA on Sunday.  Saratoga, if you're not familiar, is a cutesy little town with shops and restaurants and white people in shorts.  The wedding venue was one of those fancy gardens-type places that mostly exist just to be a place to have weddings.  I was under the initial impression that we could walk there from our hotel, since it appeared to be about a half-mile away on Google maps.  What Google maps did not reveal was that the road there was a tiny 2-lane thing with no sidewalks and cars whizzing by, and the gardens were at the top of a large hill with no sidewalks leading up to it, so ergo, no walking.

Obviously the open bar is the killer app of weddings and there was no way either of us were driving, so I called the local cab company and told the guy who answered we needed a cab at the hotel.  He asked me where we were going and when I said "Mystical Wedding Gardens," he suddenly said "Sorry we don't have any drivers in the area," which is of course total bullshit because he didn't say that until I told him we were only going about a half a mile and he clearly wasn't interested in a fare that low.  Ok, fuck you then.

So I turned to Uber.  Despite its relative proximity to Uber headquarters in SF, it appears that there is but one UberX driver serving the Saratoga area.  His name is Ali and he was just as nice as you can be.  Ali left his house and came and picked us up and took us to the wedding for $10.  $10 is a lot to go a half a mile but cheaper than lifelong paralysis after being hit by a car while walking on a 2-lane road or a DUI.

When the wedding was over around 10 pm, Ali left his house and came and picked us up and drove us back to our hotel, this time for only $7.  Bargain!  Ali seemed positively delighted to ferry two semi-drunk people around the corner to their hotel at 10 o'clock at night.  Thanks, Ali.

The moral of this mostly boring story is that I like to hate on Uber just as much as the next guy, but once again, the refusal of cab companies to provide the service for which they FUCKING EXIST proves that we need something like Uber or Lyft.  Now just start treating your employees like employees and not this contractor bullshit and we'll all be cool.

The end.


GG said...

I'll never forget the first time my parents came to visit me in SF and we had dinner reservations on a Friday night, and I didn't want to make my elderly parents walk a half-mile to BART, so I called a cab to come pick us up at my house in Glen Park. LOLOLOLOL!!!! After calling three different cab companies over the course of an hour (none ever actually showed), we changed our plans and ate somewhere in the neighborhood. I never expected to be able to rely on cabs again, and to this day, every time I've experimented with calling a cab, I've had the same result.

So yeah, Uber should obey employment and transportation-regulation laws, and I have other issues with them, but they (along with Lyft and whatever else) do fill a valuable need, and I"m glad they exist.

TK said...

Calling a cab to come to your house is like having sex with a supermodel; it's probably never going to happen, but it's probably happened to someone at some point. The only time I've ever gotten it to work was after 3 am in circumstances best left undescribed. Which is also probably true of supermodel sex.

Lewis Clark said...

yeah.. it looks like that Uber is not a bad choice anymore. It is truly a cheap taxi service and sometimes you need to hire a taxi service in a town or city where nobody is willing to pick you up.