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My First Uber Experience

It's awesome.

avatar Robert Mao
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Believe or not, though I installed and even researched Uber's iOS app a few years ago, I never used one not even have an account.


Why? Because its first time user registration UI scared me, it requires a credit card to register an account, since I don't always need taxi or ride I didn't bother to do it.

Though it makes sense to have credit card on file when register Uber, I didn't give it a try until this trip to SF, I will visit a friend who recently joined Uber.

The fare estimation is pretty good, so before the ride you have a clear idea about how much will cost you.

My first Uber driver arrived in less than 5 minutes after I called, he drives a brand new Toyota Prius.


I chatted with the Uber driver all the way to the airport, what I learned is interesting:

  • my driver is a 60 old gentleman, he opened and closed the door for me (I read from somewhere mentioned none of the uber driver even did that to him)

  • he was a small business owner, an immigrate from India, he was in car dealer business before and the business was well, however it turned to be not great a few years ago and he close it down and retired.

  • he find uber this year when he come back from airport and happened took an uber, so he gave it a try. To become an uber driver, he need to visit Uber's Seattle office, get some background check on driving history etc to be approved.

He mentioned the top few reasons he liked being an uber driver:

1. Unbeatable high quality of clients. He feel almost all Uber clients are highly educated young people, he never had any trouble with them. At current stage it's not a surprise that Uber's client are the high value groups. He mentioned a number of times this is the most enjoyable part.

2. Peace of mind, take control of his own work life balance. He said he only work about 5 or 6 hours a day, and due to his age he always wakes up very early so he start businesses in early morning (so get quite a few airport business, e.g. I am his 3rd airport clients today already) and get clients were easy. He doesn't work all the day. Compared to the days he own his own business or work for others, the pressures are much less.

3. He feel people in Uber treated him very well, polite and knowledgeable, so he liked to work with them. Uber take 20% cut from the price clients paid, he think it's a good deal. Since Apple take 30% cut from the apps developers, I agree it's not bad.

Can you make s living on Uber? My driver think he can not. He said he makes about $3k a month from it, but he has rental properties incomes, he doesn't depend on uber income at all. He thinks even he work much harder Uber can't make enough money to support a family well enough.

It's a very pleasant trip for my first ever Uber ride, the user experience is stream lined, very smooth and simple. I actually wished I could have more time to talk and learn more about how a happy Uber driver's experience looks like.

When I arrived I am a little bit surprised that I don't even have a check out or pay screen, I just say goodbye and walked away. Minutes later I received a message to ask me rank the driver and soon I received the receipts.


It's much cheaper than a taxi(around $70+tax and tips) and even beatable with the price of the shared shuttle (Shuttle Express, around $40 - 50, but it takes much longer time since it stop to pickup or drop off everyone). With the first ride $30 discount I only spent $14 to the airport!

Next up I'll give Lyft a try, and maybe Sidecar as well.