Update (Mar 23, 2015): a lot has changed since I wrote this review, so now I have an updated post about my experience with Uber. of course, parts of the review below are still valid. Only the pricing is now much lesser.
It would actually be almost unfair to call Uber a taxi service. Why? Well, it is unlike any taxi service you have ever used in India. They have the nicest support department, the nicest drivers (so far), and the nicest cars (my last 3 rides have been a Toyota Camry, an Audi Q3, and an Audi Q3). The price is not that bad too compared to the competition out there (which doesn’t even stand a chance in terms of the quality of service and rides). Let’s see what the price looks like:
Rs. 70 + Rs. 2/min + Rs. 20/km – so, a 20 km ride which takes 25 minutes to complete will cost you 70+2*25+20*20 = Rs. 520. That is not cheap by most standards, but let’s see how the competition fares in the pricing:
- Meru Plus, Easycabs, Mega, etc.: they charge Rs. 23/km – so the above ride will cost Rs. 460. Cheaper, but if you have been in a Meru cab, you know that the standards can vary widely and the cabs are nowhere as nice as the Uber ones.
- Olacabs (this is very similar in working as Uber): they charge Rs. 21/km and Rs. 2/min – so, above ride will cost Rs. 470. Again cheaper, but at least in Gurgaon, their cars are nearly not as available as the Uber cars are. And they also have much lower standard cars (at least in NCR/Gurgaon) than Uber does.
As I said earlier, it would be unfair to call Uber a cab service. One can almost think about it in terms of a car replacement (assuming that it becomes available widely – which it should given the background of this company). If one was to buy a new deluxe car: let’s say a Civic or a Corolla. It would cost in the range of Rs. 15,00,000 (on-road, etc.). Now, if you travel around 15,000 kms a year, which in terms of petrol costs you (let’s say for the next 3 years) Rs. 3,50,000. If you have a driver, that is another Rs. 3,00,000 over the next 3 years. In total, a new car for 3 years will cost you around Rs 21,00,000. Now, an Uber (which would be a Camry/Accord/BMW/Audi) with a driver – will cost you at average Rs. 30 per kilometer and 15000 km per year – Rs. 13,50,000 over 3 years. Much less than the new car – for a car which is higher category and no maintenance.
This is what Uber brings to the table – best in class services, best in class vehicles, and best in class customer support. It is very easy to use as well – totally hassle free. Here’s how my typical Uber ride goes. I open up the app on my iPhone (also available for Android phones). It tells me right away how close the nearest vehicle is – I request for a pickup at the tap of a button. It immediately sends me the information for the driver and the type of car that is picking me up. The car drives up, I tell the driver my destination. And the driver takes me there. I get to the destination, I get off and walk away. The application automatically takes care of the billing (since it has my credit card details). You get the option to rate the ride on your app if you want to provide feedback – this helps them keep the fleet and services at a high quality.
But, you won’t really feel it till you try it. So, here’s a link to sign up with which will give you Rs. 500 free – enough for a short ride to experience Uber.
https://uber.com/invite/uberisnice – sign up using this link to receive Rs. 500 worth of free credit in your Uber account. Enjoy your ride.