The Hick’s Guide to Uber

/ posted in: travel

I love public transportation. I live in an area where it isn’t developed enough to make it a practical option for everyday living so when I travel to a city with a good system, I love it.

We went to Washington D.C. for the weekend. Our hotel was right across from a Metro station in VA. Perfect. Well, it would have been perfect if there wasn’t a track closure on that line this weekend.

There was a work around. You took the train to the next station from where we got on (less than one minute after getting on). Get off. Take a free bus service to the next clear station. That added 20 minutes to what would have been a 10 minute trip. It was also roughly the same temperature as the surface of the sun and you were crammed on the bus with a gazillion grumpy people and sometimes you couldn’t get a seat. I didn’t want to try it during rush hour on Monday morning.

Download the app before you need it

I thought about this before I left home. But, but, public transportation is available. It is just a little more complicated, right? No need to add to the congestion by hiring a car.

Then we tried to leave the National Mall on Saturday afternoon when some large prayer rally was letting out. I’m actually glad there was a prayer rally because I noticed that a lot of people on the Mall were wearing Christian t shirts and I was afraid. I’m glad it was a Christian gathering and not just a bunch of people independently feeling so superior that they needed to proclaim their faith through their attire. Mind you, we wandered all over the Mall and never noticed this gathering actually happening. To be fair, my eyes were on the gay men’s kickball tournament.

Anyway, the point is, we couldn’t get into the Metro stations because of all the Christians. There were also ambulances everywhere. We later heard that many were passing out from the heat which made me ask why they didn’t pray to their God to be saved from heat stroke but I digress again.

I sat on a lawn and tried to download the Uber app. It took forever to get it to download outside in the middle of a crowd of people using devices. It never did connect to Paypal. There was also a storm coming in. Seriously, if there is any chance you will use it, download at home.

Know your pricing

In this situation when there were lots of people trying to get away, hello surge pricing.  The app helpfully informed me that surge pricing was in effect and my rate would be 2.5 times the regular rate.  Did I want to accept?  No, because I am cheap but it was still cheaper than a taxi might have been.

I like the fact that Uber gives you a price up front.  I always worry with a taxi that the driver will wander around the long way and jack up the price.

On Monday morning during rush hour I looked at the app to see how expensive it was to get to the Capitol visitors’ center.  I was given an option of sharing a ride and it was actually cheaper than what the Metro would have cost.  I contemplated the fact that I was a horrible person contributing to the destruction of the planet from overuse of fossil fuels in air conditioned luxury.

Take a car person

I don’t know cars.  I refer to cars solely by color.  I don’t know the icons on the front and what brand they represent.  When the Uber app connects you with a driver it tells you the driver’s name and the make of car.  It doesn’t tell you the color.  Luckily, the husband is a car person and he understood what he was looking for.  When I used it alone, I quickly googled to know if I was looking for a car or an SUV.

Guess

The app has a map that shows you where the car is in relation to you. So then a car that you think might be the right type slows down near you. You rush over to it and you and the driver question each other’s identity to make sure you aren’t getting into a random person’s car who just happened to slow down. That would be awkward.

Bottom Line

I wasn’t murdered by getting into cars with strangers.
I never got heat stroke.