What is Uber?


Have you been seeing a lot of your friends shared this Uber thingy and said that you will get $10 off for your first ride if you use their promo code? What is it actually? It's been going all over internet!

"Uber is a ridesharing service based in San Francisco. The company uses a smartphone application to connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle's location." taken from Google!

But what exactly is it? Are they legal? Is it safe to take their cab? Is it more expensive than normal cab? Why do I have to take theirs instead of the normal cab we found on the road.

A little history about Uber:
Uber, operating in more than 40 countries, has actually been around for about 2 years in Singapore.

The reason why we do not know about it before is because it used to be just UberExecutive. Which serves as private car driver that is quite expensive and quite limited to those higher end passengers. 

Only until 2 months ago, Uber started another extenstion called UberX. Which is cheaper then UberExec. And it actually opens up more opportunities to the local drivers as well.

Not long after, it works together with some of the taxis that's available in Singapore (the blue, yellow, etc etc, the ones we normally see on the road)

So does that mean anyone can be your driver? How can that be safe?  Aha! Here is some explanation according to my own understanding.

1. Not exactly ANYONE can be your driver. They need to fulfil some criterias, one of it is they have to be an insured driver. They are also required to submit their personal details to Uber. 

2. Once Uber approve of the driver already, they will then provide the driver with a phone that has their in built app, specially for drivers. (Their app and our app is slightly different). 

Get to understand the app better! (avoid general mistakes most of us do!)

Here is the review of my experience with Uber. First before I start, download the Uber app by clicking this link and you will get $10 off for your first ride. If you already have the app, and have never use a promo code before, go under setting -> promotion and key in renic1. do note that you can only use the promo code once.

Once you have downloaded, you will be prompt to key in your credit card details for future payment wise. (They will only deduct after you had taken the ride, and it's quite safe as they will send you an email of the receipt. Read till the end to find out more). 

I still remember moments after I had gotten the app, I really don't understand how the thing actually works and made lots of mistakes. 

Remember I told you about Uber having three different kinds of cab services? Look at the top pictures right down. You will see uberX, Taxi and UberExec. Before you do anything, make sure to choose which cab you want first. 

As far as I heard from the UberX driver, there is not much difference in terms of fare between UberX and Taxi. At the start I keep getting this "No UberX cars available". And then when I clicked on to that, I will see this below pictures. 

Note about the Fare Quote! That one you can actually use that to roughly estimate how much it will cost for your trip. You will be asked to enter your pick up point and destination.  Next, do not click the Request uberX UNLESS you are really confirmed that you want a cab right now.

I didnt know that right after clicking that, they will actually straight away get a cab for you if they have one. I wanted to play around with the app when I had just gotten it, but lucky me it didnt have any cabs available when I was playing around. 

If there are cabs available, you will see these once you open up the app (depending on which one you choose):

The car graphics are so cute, aint it! 

Okay, now take it that you really want a cab already, after you request the cab to be here, you will actually be prompt that your driver is "en route" to your pick up location. There will be the driver name, car type and plate number appeared on your screen.

You can also click 'contact' the driver and you can either call or message them to get their exact location. I had forgotten to take a screenshot of this, but hope you understand what I meant. 

I tried it on Thursday, 23rd October when Uber has this 2 free rides promotion up to $35 each trip. BUT I made a terrible mistake by not reading the email carefully. The free trip was only for Taxi, not UberX. and I actually requested for UberX. 

I actually asked the driver before entering the car, and he kindly explained to me that it's only for Taxi. I could cancel it with a fee of $2 plus, I think. But I felt bad cancelling, so I thought okay never mind, I shall just use my credit then. 

The driver was really friendly and courteous, he greeted me with a smile and opened up the door for me to enter. Once I am inside, he went on explaining that a few of his customers before me actually made the same mistake! 

During your trip, you will see this on your screen:

This will put your mind at ease about the safety, right? You actually can see where exactly is your location. Moreover, every move of the car is actually being monitored by the app.

This actually made me feel secure when I was inside the car. I don't have to worry about the driver bringing me to longer route or whatsoever. 

The driver was really super friendly. I asked SOOO many questions about Uber and he answered me one by one, patiently. I believe some of the questions I asked is what you want to know as well. 

1. Are you legal? HAHAHA I really asked that.
It is LEGAL! Uber is considered a Limo service in Singapore. LTA approved. 

2. Where is the metre fare? How do I know how much I had spent for the trip?
Now, one thing about Uber is, they don't have metre fare like normal taxi do. But then before the trip you can actually use the "fare quote" that I mentioned above to estimate how much it would be.

This is how they are going to charge you (it may differ as time passes, I don't know. but this is for now):

UberX fare:
Base fare: $3.50
Distance /km : $0.50
Time /min : $0.30
Total fare: add them all up.

For example, my trip from Jurong to Tg Pagar area (scroll down for the screenshot of the receipt!):

Base fare: $3.50
18km : 18 x $0.50 = $9
54 mins : 54 x $0.30 = $16.20
Total fare = $28.70

NOTE: it took me 54 mins for 18km ride is because of the HEAVY jam. Normally it would only take about 20-30 mins max without traffic. Assume it was a smooth traffic (20 mins), it would have cost me only $6 instead of $16.20 for the time!

3. Is it cheaper than normal taxi fare? 
According to the driver, yes it should be relatively cheaper than normal taxi fare if you consider these aspects:
- No booking fee
- No surcharge for peak period and even midnight
- ERP in CBD area is totally absorbed by the DRIVER, not us.
- ERP in the express way then is absorbed by ourselves.

4. I see ratings beside your name there, what is it for?
We would actually be prompt to rate the driver at the end of the trip. And GUESS WHAT. They get to rate us too!! This is cool.

We can't see our own rating I think  it's because it's only for the driver's reference. Other than that it also to prevent some customers who are not happy with how the driver rate him or her so low, and thus rate them low as well when in fact they are very courteous and friendly.

I asked many more other questions about how they are being paid by Uber or how they work, but I am not sure if it's appropriate to blog about it, so I should just keep to for my own reference. But then again, I can feel that Uber is doing a very good job. The driver was really very happy with Uber and kind of "loyal" to them.

The driver I had gotten was really super friendly. It was actually faster if I took public transport (it takes me only like 30 mins to reach Tg Pagar by train and less than $2), but because of my mistake, I had to pay so much more.

The driver felt very bad about it and kept saying sorry to me. I assured him that it was my own mistakes, so don't have to worry about it. Although I paid quite a price for this mistake, but then I believe everything happen for a reason. Through this mistake I learnt so much about Uber all thanks to the super friendly driver! So, it's all good!

After the trip you will be prompt this through the app:

It felt very weird because I DONT HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING. Well, at least not by cash. Only after the driver clicked "end trip" through his app, it will then generate the fare for the whole trip.

This is the summary of how much was charged to my account. The break down of fare would be emailed to us! Happy me of course have the driver 5 stars, when actually he serves like 10 STARSSSS. Also left a short comment for him.

Didn't I say the fare was $28? HAH! Read on~

There you go, the email receipt the was sent to me to my email 

Notice on top's picture, right side under "Normal Fare",  you will see a surge of 1.25. What is that? Now, UberX does not have surcharge, BUT when it is having a high demand call, they will have this surcharge or 1.25 or more (according to the demand, the higher demand, the higher the surcharge).

It was actually prompt to me when I clicked the "request taxi". It is stated there very clearly about the 1.25 surcharge and asked if you want to proceed or leave it. I was okay with it because I thought I have $35 free ride anyway T.T but it was a mistake. 

What is good about Uber:

1. They don't have booking fee!

2. "Cab or public transport" dilemma.
You know that feeling when you were rushing to elsewhere, you want to try your luck to see if you could hail a cab outside without booking it, but you wait and wait and wait, almost 20 mins had passed and you realised it would be faster if you had taken the public transport? But then you think, since you have already waited for a good 20 mins, might as well carry on.

With Uber you don't have to do that! Check the app when you are still at home. If there is Uber available, go! Otherwise? head to the bus stop or MRT station! 

3. I felt safe taking it!
I only cab when I have super heavy luggages with me or when I am with my grandparents. And when I do, I normally use my own Google map to make sure that the driver doesn't bring me to a wrong place or by taking the longer route. With Uber built in maps, you can see exactly where is your location.

Remember that you can rate the driver as well! So I think this will really make the whole trip more pleasant because they wouldn't want their ratings to go down. And if you have any comment, you can write it in. (but be honest!)

4. It's convenient!
Now you literally can just hop off the cab right after you have reached your destination without taking out anything from your wallet. We always have our phone in our hands anyway hahhaa. 

What Uber can improve on?

1. Application is too easy for us to make mistake.
Like what I had mentioned, I didnt even know that I had already "confirmed" a driver for myself. When there was no Uber cars available, I clicked the request for taxi. And the next thing I know, the driver was already on his way.

They could have added another step (after we click request for car) to prompt us like "there is one uber car available in about 10 mins away, do you want to proceed? Yes or No" I think it is safer this way for both the customers and the drivers. 

2. You could get addicted.
As there was no cash involved, you don't really see your money being deducted from your debit card. Worst still if you are using credit card, you won't feel the pinch only after the bill came. So, be responsible! 

Other than that, I think Uber is kinda awesome! Oh!! I forgot to mention one very important part. Refer to the last picture on top, bottom right you will see "Gives $10, Gets $10." What does this mean?

Now, you do know that once you have downloaded the app using the link I gave you or the code "renic1", you will get $10 off for your first ride. After you have the app, you will have the code for yourself! 

You can then send your code to your friends so that they can get $10 off first rides too. And what's even more awesome? When your friend uses your code, you will also get $10 credit to your account and can be accumulated for your next rides! (don't say good things I never share okay! hahaha) I am not that selfish to keep this info to myself so that everyone only use my code.

There are many Uber promotions going one. Sometimes they even give free rides. This is because they are relatively new and are trying to get more exposure. So what else are you waiting for? Go ahead and spread around!!

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  1. Hei! Thanks for sharing this awesome information about Uber. I used to download this app and dunno what to do with it, so, I just deleted and stick to others apps for cab booking. It's so useful, thank you once again! Btw, can I have your permission to share your blog on my blog, actually, it's more for my own reference. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I drove with Uber interestingly a few days ago, and had the same issue. It was exceptionally upsetting. I read some place, possibly on the Uber site, that wifi can meddle with their server. I handicapped wifi on my telephone and attempted it once more, and had no issues beginning or completion trips after that.

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