Michaela Merz

Why I use Uber

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I’m always on the move, frequently abroad. Without a taxi it’s often impossible. But my experience with taxis is very mixed and unfortunately often not only positive. The vehicles are dirty and stink of cigarettes. The drivers are impolite. When I ask them to close the window or switch off the radio, I am ignored. I have to load and unload the cases myself, the credit card is refused and cash demanded. The worst is, I feel cheated, if I have already driven the route and suddenly it is a good deal dearer and who knows what happens when I don’t know the normal prices. Riding taxis around the world is like a bag of surprises, it may be great but it can also be a terrible experience with a high degree of frustration. The chances are about 50/50 and very often the main feeling is that it was simply OK.

A few years ago I was with a colleague in Miami. We wanted to travel from the hotel to the airport and fly back to Zürich. Around the doorkeeper was a large flock of people, who were waiting for a taxi and there was not a taxi in sight. My colleague said only, that’s not a problem and tipped on his telephone and within 5 minutes a grey BMW arrived, the others were still waiting in vain. We climbed in. The vehicle was clean as a whistle, the driver exceptionally pleasant and, when we arrived, my colleague paid nothing, but said it will be charged to his credit card. I was highly impressed. That’s how I got to know Uber and I downloaded the app. But I never used it, because the reports on Uber in the press were almost exclusively negative. I didn’t want with my conduct to contribute to the exploitation of the drivers. I carried on collecting frustrating experiences around the world, similar to the one in Dublin some weeks ago, until one night I stood in the centre of Princeton and didn’t know how I would get a taxi. Far and wide, no taxi in sight, it was raining heavily, I was dog-tired with jet lag and just wanted to get into bed. Then I remembered Uber and I ordered. And my experience in Miami was repeated. The vehicle ordered at a price known in advance came in 5 minutes, it was clean, the driver was very pleasant and we had a good conversation. Everything worked and again it was a great experience.

From then on I alternated between taxi and Uber. The problem was that with Uber the experience was always the same. A pleasant driver, a clean vehicle, the price known in advance was substantially lower than with the taxi, no unpleasant surprises. With the taxi, it was sometimes good, sometimes bad. So I began to riddle my Uber drivers with questions. I discovered that they have to hand over to Uber 20% of what they earn. That they are themselves responsible for their social insurance, but that they all enjoyed their job. The flexibility, the freedom, the earnings – It seems to suit them.

Now I travel only with Uber. I rate my drivers and they rate me as a customer. At present I have the maximum rating. Everyone must decide for him/herself. I don’t like negative surprises, with Uber I can avoid them completely. And if one wants to give a tip and to make a direct contribution to the driver’s pension fund, one can do so by app or in cash. In this way, one is also certain where the money finally ends up.www.ringo.zone  / pixelio.de

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