Uber

Lyft Will Soon Let You Schedule Rides In Advance

Lyft-Schedule

Wait a second, doesn’t that completely negate the point of an on-demand ridesharing service?

Well, it’s something Lyft will soon be testing out in San Francisco, and is planning on expanding to other markets this summer. Via the Lyft Blog:

“When it comes to getting around, passengers tell us they sometimes want the extra peace of mind to schedule a ride in advance. So today, we’re excited to start testing a new feature that allows passengers to schedule rides up to 24 hours in advance.

Whether you have an early-morning flight and need to get to the airport or have a make-or-break business meeting cross-town, scheduled rides will get you out the door and off to your destination at your specified pickup time.”

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I’m Tempted To Start Micro-Managing My Uber Rating…

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I’m a huge fan of Uber, and have used them hundreds of times. For me they’ve transformed how I get around, especially in cities where public transportation is lacking. I love that Uber is cashless (even though I sometimes tip), and I also find the service to pretty consistently be excellent.

That’s the beauty of Uber’s instant feedback loop. After each ride, the passenger can rate the driver, and the driver can rate the passenger. It keeps the drivers on their feet, since they can get kicked out if their rating falls too low.

A lot of Uber users don’t realize that they can pull up their Uber rating at any time through the app or Uber’s website. In March I explained how you can find out your Uber score — it’s quite easy, and can be updated at any time.

I’m surprised Uber lets you constantly see your rating, because it enrages some customers to see when their rating drops after a ride. On a recent post, reader lopore said the following about waiting to rate drivers until after he sees how they rated him:

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Get $10 Off Your Next Uber Ride

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While Uber often has promotions for new users, it’s rare to see promotions for existing users. Existing users can get $10 off their next Uber ride by using promotion code ANDROIDPAY. Just open the Uber app, click the menu button at the top left, and click on the “Promotions” section. That’s where you’ll enter the promotion code.

The promotion code will immediately be reflected in your account, and as you’ll see, it’s valid through May 31, 2016, so you have a bit over two weeks to use it.

For what it’s worth, despite the name of the promotion code, I had no issues using it for my iPhone.

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Here’s Why Uber & Lyft Voluntarily Shut Down In Austin

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Uber has changed the way I approach ground transportation, as they make getting around in cities without good public transportation easier and more comfortable than ever before. I’m happy that they take the taxi mafias around the US to task, given that the taxi industry has had zero innovation for decades, with horrible service, dirty cars, and “broken” credit card machines.

That being said, I’m not disillusioned about Uber’s tactics. They use some really questionable methods to expand, and at times even cross the line. The thing is, that’s probably the best way to trigger change when the taxi mafias are in the pockets of so many politicians.

So over the years we’ve seen Uber expand to hundreds of markets, but also on occasion be kicked out of certain markets.

Both Uber & Lyft are no longer operating in Austin… voluntarily.

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Uber Is Testing New Fees For Tardy Passengers

New-Uber-Fees

I use Uber on a near daily basis, and if I had one complaint about their UberX service (at least in LA), it’s that I wish they’d charge more. I know that sounds backwards, but when I’m paying only a third of what a taxi costs, I feel like I can only have really low expectations of safety, comfort, and the condition of the car (the phrase “you get what you pay for” comes to mind).

So I’m all for Uber doing things which improve the bottom line for their drivers, so that it avoids silly things like them soliciting cash tips, which they’ll soon be allowed to do.

Uber has generally been a pretty anti-fee company, but they’re testing a new program which potentially adds fees for tardy passengers.

According to TechCrunch, the new program is being tested in New York City, New Jersey, Phoenix, and Dallas, so that Uber can evaluate the results and decide whether to expand it further.

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Uber Drivers Will Soon Be Able To Solicit Tips

Tips

One of the selling points of Uber is that it’s cashless. That’s not only great for those of us who like to earn points, but just a general convenience for those of us who don’t like carrying cash around.

The thing is, Uber keeps lowering their rates in so many markets to try and gain market share, and at times I almost feel guilty taking Uber.

For example, a while back I wrote about how cheap UberX is in the LA area. It costs 90 cents per mile, which is a third the cost of a taxi.

A ride from West Hollywood to LAX, which covers 13 miles over 47 minutes, costs ~$18.

I see both sides of this. Uber wants to gain market share, so they drop prices dramatically. Low prices are ultimately good for consumers. But I also don’t think these are “fair” prices, in the sense that I almost feel guilty taking an UberX at that rate. In other words, when the driver’s car is in horrible shape and they’re driving like a maniac, I sort of just shrug my shoulders and say “what was I expecting for 90 cents per mile?” The obvious counter argument is that people are choosing to work for Uber, so they don’t have to participate.

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Here’s Why A Florida Town Is Subsidizing Uber

SunRail

Uber has revolutionized the transportation game, despite getting a lot of opposition from governments, both on the national and local levels.

Some government concerns are on point, as Uber is far from perfect:

— Uber often uses questionable tactics to enter markets, where they’ll just begin operating until they’re shut down, at which point they’ll put their deep legal pockets into getting officially recognized
— UberX is arguably not regulated enough, in terms of safety standards, driver screening, and insurance
— It seems clear that Uber’s strategy in many markets is to artificially lower prices to the point that they’re driving taxi companies out of business, and then possibly raise prices significantly; at least that’s what it feels like, especially in markets where Uber is too cheap

Still, the taxi industry has done nothing to innovate for decades. When you look at the amount of dirty cars, bad service, “broken” credit card machines, etc., it’s hard to feel sorry for most cabbies.

But overall Uber has been met with opposition from governments. Look at how long it took Uber to be allowed in Las Vegas, and for Uber to be allowed to do airport pick-ups in Los Angeles.

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You Can Now See Your More Detailed Uber Score

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Last December I posted about how you can easily check your passenger rating through the Uber app.

Many people use Uber on a daily basis, and part of the reason it’s so successful is because of the great service. That’s largely due to the instant feedback loop, since you can rate your drive, which gives them an incentive to go above and beyond.

A lot of people don’t realize that passengers are actually rated as well. As a passenger your rating isn’t actually that important, since you likely won’t be rejected for a ride unless your score is really low. But that doesn’t stop people from being curious about what their scores are.

The ability to look up your rating directly through the Uber app is new as of late last year. Prior to that you had to email Uber to ask for your passenger rating.

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Claim Your American Executive Platinum Uber Code

American-Uber

In mid-February American announced a new partnership with Uber. It has been interesting to see Uber partner with so many travel brands, including Starwood, Hilton, and IHG. However, American is the first airline to partner with Uber, which is pretty awesome. While the partnership between Uber and Starwood has substantial benefits (SPG members earn Starpoints…

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My First And Last Time In A London Black Cab

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Confession time — prior to yesterday, I’ve never before been in a London black cab. In London I’ve relied almost exclusively on public transportation, along with the occasional Uber ride to supplement it. And it has worked out quite well.

It’s no secret that I avoid taxis as much as possible. While there are some great taxi drivers out there, the taxi industry as a whole has done so little to innovate over the past couple of decades, and thanks to technology that lack of innovation has finally caught up with them, thanks to the growth of the ridesharing economy. Beyond that, I seem to consistently have really bad luck with taxis for those times I do take them, from Abu Dhabi to Dubai to Frankfurt to Las Vegas to Warsaw.

I’ve always had respect for London cab drivers, because they’re the most well educated in the world. Becoming a London taxi driver requires going to school and passing a tough test, as you need to memorize the 25,000+ streets in London. It has always been my understanding that London cabbies are a proud bunch, and are understandably frustrated by Uber, since they’re not just clueless and rude drivers, but rather are well educated and knowledgable.

Heck, the slogan for London black cabs is “the finest taxi service in the world.”

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Do You Tip Uber Drivers? Here’s Why I Feel Guilty When I Don’t

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I’m a huge fan of Uber, and use them all the time. I don’t remember the last time I voluntarily used a taxi in a city where Uber is popular (there are some exceptions, like when I’m abroad and am not using cell phone data, where it can be tough to connect with a driver).

Uber is far from perfect, and as they become even more popular, they’re also taking on some more taxi-like behavior (drivers canceling rides they don’t want, etc.). Still, they’re so much better than the taxi industry, which has been run like a government organization for far too long due to the lack of competition.

UberBLACK is often only marginally more expensive than taxis, but gets you a black car. It’s especially awesome in LA, since a vast majority of UberBLACK cars are also SUVs, and sometimes even UberLUX cars (like a Mercedes S500, BMW 7-Series, etc.), which you then get at the UberBLACK price.

But the most useful thing is that UberX in LA is really cheap (which is true in many other cities as well). They charge just 90 cents per mile. As a point of comparison, LA taxis charge $2.70 per mile, so UberX costs a third as much as a taxi.

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What Are The Benefits Of The American & Uber Partnership?

American-Uber

I use Uber on an almost daily basis, and am always looking for tricks to improve the value I’m getting. This includes maximizing my return on credit card spend with Uber, and also taking advantage of their partnerships.

Perhaps Uber’s most useful partnership is with Starwood, which was announced early last year. Through this partnership, SPG members earn bonus Starpoints when riding with Uber.

Through this partnership, Starwood Preferred Guest members earn:

— One Starpoint per dollar spent on all Uber rides
— Bonus Starpoints when using Uber in conjunction with a hotel stay, as follows:

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UberX Can Now Pick You Up At LAX

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Let’s start with the bottom line: as of 8AM today, UberX can finally pick up passengers at LAX.

UberX is ridiculously cheap in Los Angeles, and those same prices apply when departing the airport, though there’s also a $4 airport origination fee. Furthermore, those using UberX or UberXL will need to meet their vehicle on the upper level, which is typically for departures. There’s a specially designated area for “ride service” there. This requirement doesn’t apply to licensed UberBLACK cars, who can pick up passengers on the arrivals level.

Just to give an example of an Uber fare estimate between LAX and the Andaz West Hollywood (which I often stay at, and can take up to an hour to get to in traffic), here are the fare estimates for the various types of Ubers:

As you can see, an UberX costs just $23-30 (which is less than half of what a taxi costs), while an UberBLACK costs $73-93. If you don’t yet have an Uber account, you can sign-up and get your first ride of up to $15 for free (which will get you pretty far in LA).

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Guy Who Violently Attacked Uber Driver Is Suing For $5 Million

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File this under “only in America.”

In November I posted about the Uber driver in Newport Beach who was violently attacked by a passenger, and then ended up pepper spraying him. The guy was clearly drunk and belligerent, and the real confrontation started when the Uber driver pulled over to let the guy out, at which point he was attacked. The Uber driver pepper sprayed the passenger, and following the incident said he was looking for a new job, because he didn’t feel comfortable working for Uber anymore.

For those who never saw the video, here it is:

Well, there’s a follow up to this story, and it involves a lawsuit. A $5 million lawsuit filed by the passenger against the Uber driver he violently attacked. That’s right, the passenger is suing the Uber driver.

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