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Uber/Lyft Questions
Old 02-02-2019, 12:37 PM   #1
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Uber/Lyft Questions

We do not have Uber or Lyft in our area, but will probably see it within the coming year.
I admit to being a bit of a coward about using this kind of one on one service, so i'm hoping to learn from our friends here on ER.
.................................................. ........

Edit: APOLOGIES Since writing this, I found the Uber Q&A page. Many if not most of my questions are answered. There are answers for questions I never even thought to ask. Don't feel you have to respond, but anything you think might help or comments will be appreciated.
.................................................. .........

Do I have to use a smartphone to request service?
Who am I speaking to when I call?
Does the initial call get an answer right away, or a call back? or just wait without an estimated time?
Do I have to tell where I'm going to the call service.
What if it's a long trip? Like 10 miles or more?
How do I recognize the car? What if in a busy area, like a bus stop?
Can I use a Credit Card?
Do I pay on the basis of time?
What about the time to reach me in the first place?
What to do if there's an accident, breakdown, if driver gets lost or takes the long versus short route.
What if I'm going to a 3 mile away local store, and expect to be there for 15 minutes? Make an appointment up front for a different car? Pay the first car for the wait time?
What is an acceptable wait time for the car to reach me?
Can I call for service to get to an appointment on the day before?
How much does it cost, and can I get an estimate in advance?
If it's a long trip away from the area, like to an airport, do I pay for the drive out, and for the driver to return to his base?
How much do I tip the driver... seriously? Minimum? Percent? What do you use as a guide?
Smallest town where you know it's in use?
Can you use the service to pick up a package and deliver it to you without you being in the car?
What mistake to avoid?
Any guarantees? Predicted arrival time? What if driver arrives late, and I miss an appointment?
Can I talk to the driver on phone, on his way to pick me up?
Cost for more than one person?
Do I/Should I become a member? (Register)
Are there any services that might be used other than the ones named above?

I would guess that a busy area would result in better service, but if you started using it when it was being introduced, was the "break-in" time extensive? Weeks? Months? (for the service to smooth out?)

Would appreciate any advice on all or any one of the above questions.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:54 PM   #2
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While your questions are being answered, might I ask - how do you know Uber and Lyft are not operating in your area? They might, and probably do, and you are just unaware.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:17 PM   #3
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I believe they give you the license plate and color/make/model of the car.
Don't fixate on the color although it's probably useful. Once a car showed up with everything correct except for the color.

I believe you know the price before you confirm so it's fixed. There is a small additional fee for another person. You can share a ride with a different party so it's cheaper for both.

You will appreciate seeing the car on a map on your phone and seeing where it is as it travels to you and predicts ETA. Pretty neat creation......the whole concept.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:17 PM   #4
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While your questions are being answered, might I ask - how do you know Uber and Lyft are not operating in your area? They might, and probably do, and you are just unaware.
I have asked some of the knowledgeable managers in our CCRC, and they advised that Taxi service is cheaper, since the nearest active Uber service area is about 63 miles away in Peoria, IL. Going to the Uber site, the only suggested normal trips are to the airports... about $85 to $95 (miles) away, and a ride to my son's house, (an hour's drive ) is $140.

Talk is that it IS coming, so I was trying to get ready. It will be a great thing for our community, as most of the residents no longer drive. I expect we'll be using it quite a bit as our own driving is becoming less and less.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
We do not have Uber or Lyft in our area, but will probably see it within the coming year.
I admit to being a bit of a coward about using this kind of one on one service, so i'm hoping to learn from our friends here on ER.

Do I have to use a smartphone to request service? Not sure, but I think you do. I use a smartphone.
Who am I speaking to when I call? No one..you enter your destination (via typing) in their app.
Does the initial call get an answer right away, or a call back? or just wait without an estimated time? The app sends your request out to all nearby 'idle' drivers. The first one that responds, 'locks in' as your upcoming driver. The app knows your location (as you have their app on your phone) and the location of the "locked in" driver. It uses these 2 locations to estimate how long it will take the driver to reach you. On your phone, the app also shows the location of the driver on a little GPS-type map as s/he is driving to you.
Do I have to tell where I'm going to the call service. You're not dealing with a call service. You are dealing via an app. Yes, it's the first thing you enter on the app.
What if it's a long trip? Like 10 miles or more? No problem. (I have heard stories of trips of 300+ miles, but they are uncommon.)
How do I recognize the car? What if in a busy area, like a bus stop? When a driver "locks in" your request..you get a description of their vehicle, and the drivers name in the app. So you know who you are looking for.
Can I use a Credit Card? Beforehand, you need to set up an account via their app on your phone. You enter your credit card info then, along with your home address, etc.
Do I pay on the basis of time? It's an algorithm based on distance but which changes depending on demand (rush hour, after a sports event or concert ends, etc.)
What about the time to reach me in the first place? Not a factor, as far as I know. Only nearby and idle drivers will get your request.
What to do if there's an accident, breakdown, if driver gets lost or takes the long versus short route. No idea. I have not had this experience.
What if I'm going to a 3 mile away local store, and expect to be there for 15 minutes? Make an appointment up front for a different car? Pay the first car for the wait time? I would have 2 separate transactions, 1 going to the store, and 2. returning from the store.
What is an acceptable wait time for the car to reach me? Only you know this answer. I think 10-15 minutes is the most I've had to wait.
Can I call for service to get to an appointment on the day before? Not sure.
How much does it cost, and can I get an estimate in advance? The app will tell you the cost of the trip before you lock it in.
If it's a long trip away from the area, like to an airport, do I pay for the drive out, and for the driver to return to his base? No...unless it's somehow baked into the algorithm.
How much do I tip the driver... seriously? Minimum? Percent? What do you use as a guide? Some drivers I've had, didn't accept tips. Others I've tipped in cash or via the app. The amount depended on how the entire transaction went...were they prompt, pleasant, etc. (One guy insisted on going out of the way and stopping for gas while taking me to the airport for an international flight. IMHO, a driver should be gassed-up and ready to go when picking up clients. He got a tiny tip.)
Smallest town where you know it's in use? No idea. It all depends on availability of drivers.
Can you use the service to pick up a package and deliver it to you without you being in the car? No idea.
What mistake to avoid? Nothing to suggest.
Any guarantees? Predicted arrival time? What if driver arrives late, and I miss an appointment? Predicted time is on the app, and changes as he is driving to pick you up. No guarantees as far as ETS at your destination.
Can I talk to the driver on phone, on his way to pick me up? Yes, he can call you and you can call him via the app. I've had to do this when we could not find each other.
Cost for more than one person? You can order different size vehicles if you have a large party. I think the standard fare cover 1-3 passengers, IIRC.
Do I/Should I become a member? (Register) Yes, if you want to use the service, you MUST register.
Are there any services that might be used other than the ones named above? Taxis, medical transportation, senior transportation, airport transportation, public transport.

I would guess that a busy area would result in better service, but if you started using it when it was being introduced, was the "break-in" time extensive? Weeks? Months? (for the service to smoothe out?) I used it after it was established.

Would appreciate any advice on all or any one of the above questions.

See italicized, bolded responses, above.

I know you are thinking of it as a service in your home area. But I often used to plan on renting a car at my destination when I traveled somewhere by plane. Now I usually manage to get by without renting car. Uber/Lyft have become such a great resource, especially when in a new-to-me location -- I don't have to find my way around, don't have to deal with traffic, don't have to find and pay for parking, don't have to find a taxi queue or flag one down on the street, etc. plus I get picked up and dropped off right at the door. It's great.

omni
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:32 PM   #6
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I have asked some of the knowledgeable managers in our CCRC, and they advised that Taxi service is cheaper, since the nearest active Uber service area is about 63 miles away in Peoria, IL. Going to the Uber site, the only suggested normal trips are to the airports... about $85 to $95 (miles) away, and a ride to my son's house, (an hour's drive ) is $140.

Talk is that it IS coming, so I was trying to get ready. It will be a great thing for our community, as most of the residents no longer drive. I expect we'll be using it quite a bit as our own driving is becoming less and less.
Uber has a fare estimating tool. Find it here https://www.uber.com/fare-estimate/

It is competitive with taxi fares, but the cars are cleaner and newer. Uber is now promoting tipping, but it looks like a response to driver pressure. No real guidance on tips.

If you have a smartphone, the easiest way to see if Uber is available in your area is to download the app, create an account, and check for a local ride. You'll even see if any cars are nearby.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:36 PM   #7
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I will attempt to answer these based on my experience as a passenger with both Uber and Lyft.

Do I have to use a smartphone to request service?
I believe so

Who am I speaking to when I call?
It is an app, you do not speak with anyone.

Does the initial call get an answer right away, or a call back? or just wait without an estimated time?
No initial call. You request a ride in the app. A driver will immediately pick you as a passenger. You immediately receive info as to driver name and vehicle. You see a map of a car coming towards you so you know how close they are to you.

Do I have to tell where I'm going to the call service.
Yes

What if it's a long trip? Like 10 miles or more?
If they accept you as a rider then they should take you where you want to go. I learned recently that they are unaware of how far they need to take you. So, I would not request a ride that is an hour away.

How do I recognize the car? What if in a busy area, like a bus stop?
You have the license plate number of the car. As well as make and color.

Can I use a Credit Card?
Yes, you have to use a card.

Do I pay on the basis of time?
No, but it may be a higher charge during rush hour. Not sure.

What about the time to reach me in the first place?
No, don't pay for that.

What to do if there's an accident, breakdown, if driver gets lost or takes the long versus short route.
You know the cost beforehand. So, if they get lost it costs the same.

What if I'm going to a 3 mile away local store, and expect to be there for 15 minutes? Make an appointment up front for a different car? Pay the first car for the wait time?
When you are done, ask for another car.

What is an acceptable wait time for the car to reach me?
Depends on how busy the city is. In a major city it is often less than 5 minutes.

Can I call for service to get to an appointment on the day before?
Yes, the app allows you to pre-request a ride.

How much does it cost, and can I get an estimate in advance?
You get the cost in advance. Plus there is an estimator tool on your home computer if you want to know in advance.

If it's a long trip away from the area, like to an airport, do I pay for the drive out, and for the driver to return to his base?
No

How much do I tip the driver... seriously? Minimum? Percent? What do you use as a guide?
No tip is required but the app allows you to tip 10%, 15%, 20% custom. Up to you. I do 20% if it is further and driver is good.

Smallest town where you know it's in use?
??

Can you use the service to pick up a package and deliver it to you without you being in the car?
No

What mistake to avoid?
??

Any guarantees? Predicted arrival time? What if driver arrives late, and I miss an appointment?
??

Can I talk to the driver on phone, on his way to pick me up?
You do not need to. I cannot recall but believe they give you the driver's phone number. So, if you see he is lost on the map you can call him. Not sure.

Cost for more than one person?
No

Do I/Should I become a member? (Register)
Yes, need to register with credit card.

Are there any services that might be used other than the ones named above?
??

I would guess that a busy area would result in better service, but if you started using it when it was being introduced, was the "break-in" time extensive? Weeks? Months? (for the service to smooth out?) ??
??
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:43 PM   #8
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See italicized, bolded responses, above.

omni
Wow... thanks, I didn't expect that. MOST appreciated... and explained in a way that was easy to understand.



Same to Earl E Retyre...
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:49 PM   #9
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Uber and Lyft can be used without a smartphone, thru a computer with internet. That being said, it is awkward to do so.

Try to go on a ride with a friend who uses them.

I prefer Lyft. You can communicate with the driver prior to arrival. Uber prohibits this.

Both ride services would benefit by having a new rider orientation service, for lack of a better term. A positive or negative first experience is, or used to be, priceless , in business, but what do I know,I'm just a crazy old geezer.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:49 PM   #10
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Here are my experiences:
I use Lyft because they have a better locating than Uber,
Especially when I am leaving from my MHP. I have used them locally, as well on Oahu and Maui.
I am registered with them on the App, and they have my CC number. You can add the tip on the App if you want.
The only time I had a problem was at Hana, at the very tip of Maui, where there was no cell service, but I knew that going in.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:51 PM   #11
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Omni has given most of the answers you need. One thing is there's no incentive for the driver to take "the long way" since the cost is predetermined. If he takes the long way, it's just wasting his time and gas. Tips can be given afterwards via the app. You also get to rate the driver.

I had one negative experience in London, UK. There they had some kind of economy service where apparently they will only pick up one person. I must have mistakenly selected that on the app. When the driver arrived, he said he couldn't take the two of us and I had to get another Uber. Got charged a cancellation fee for the first. Was very annoyed but was traveling and didn't have the time or inclination to deal with it in a foreign country. I am now extra careful when setting up a ride on Uber.

I have yet to use Lyft but may in the future. It's only available in the US I think.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:58 PM   #12
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Try to go on a ride with a friend who uses them.
Excellent advice! Watch how the friend sets it up and pay attention all through the process. I didn't have that advantage and the first time I used the app was on a trip in the UK. I might have avoided the mistake that caused me to be charged for a cancellation.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:10 PM   #13
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Not sure you asked, but here is a comment on safety, versus taxi:

I really have no idea of the screening process for a taxi versus an Uber/Lyft driver. But I did mention to a female driver once, that I was kind of surprised there were so many female drivers, that they might feel unsafe (I only asked after we chatted a bit and it seemed obvious I wan't any sort of threat, just so it wasn't uncomfortable).

She said that anyone can hail a taxi, but at least with Uber, you need to be signed up, and when you call a car, you are identified on the system. Someone might still try something bad/stupid, but if they are not anonymous, it probably weeds out 99.9% of that.

I guess I've used Uber a dozen or two times in the past few years. I like it, far better than a taxi in every way. Predetermined price, you see where the cars are, and where you are going. I've has some pretty scary taxi rides, guys driving way too fast on city streets, never had an Uber driver do that.

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Old 02-02-2019, 03:15 PM   #14
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She said that anyone can hail a taxi, but at least with Uber, you need to be signed up, and when you call a car, you are identified on the system. Someone might still try something bad/stupid, but if they are not anonymous, it probably weeds out 99.9% of that.
Yes this works both ways, and is why uber/lyft are super safe as a passenger. Your driver gets his privileges revoked from a small number of bad reviews.

As michael mentioned up thread, just download and look and see if there are cars and you'll know if it's available. nothing to do with service centers, all to do with whether someone wants to drive for uber in your area.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:19 PM   #15
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I have yet to use Lyft but may in the future. It's only available in the US I think.
It's available in the Toronto area (GTHA) and in Ottawa. Supposedly coming to other Canadian metro areas this year.
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:58 PM   #16
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You pay tips via the phone after the ride. If the driver sits in the car while we load/unload luggage, DW gives nothing.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:20 PM   #17
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Uber is much cheaper than a cab. If they are super busy it will be surging and the price higher but the app will show you that. You can tip on the app or cash. I always hand them cash. We have had cab drivers on vacation drive up the fare by taking the long way,etc when they know you are a tourist. We took it to the airport for half the price of a cab.
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Old 02-03-2019, 12:47 AM   #18
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We love Uber and Lyft. We use them locally if going somewhere with expensive parking or no parking nearby, or if we’re celebrating and don’t want to worry about driving. As Omni said, they’re much better than renting a car and having to find your way around in a strange city. Cars are cleaner and nicer than taxis. I really doubt the taxi industry can continue to exist in most US cities because the ridesharing options are better and cheaper.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:13 AM   #19
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I have used Uber. I have not used Lyft. Uber is great. I use the app in my phone, which is connected to Apple Pay. I know the cost of the trip in advance and I know the make, model and license plate of the vehicle coming for the pickup. The app also shows a map with real time view of where the car is currently located. I do know someone who drives for Lyft to pick up extra cash in retirement. He loves it. He works the hours he wants, takes the rides he wants and makes decent money. His portion of his fares are periodically direct deposited to his bank account...
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:17 AM   #20
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Used Uber in Mexico, felt a lot safer than random cabs.
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