Uber Taxi took Montreal by storm in November 2013 when the San Francisco based technology startup took root in the city, a year after setting up shop in Toronto and Vancouver with significant fanfare, if of the negative variety. Since then, the GPS-based app has caused so much controversy that it was almost shut down by the government. Keyword? Almost.
Uber Taxi: How Does It Work?
Uber Taxi is not a taxi service per se.
The company doesn't employ taxi drivers nor does it own a fleet of cars. What Uber Taxi does is connect drivers with customers using a smartphone GPS-based app.
With a simple “e-hail,” a passenger notifies Uber the moment he or she wants a cab. The system then replies to the passenger, indicating when he or she can expect a taxi to arrive, complete with the driver's name, contact information, GPS location and customer performance rating immediately made available.
Payment with Uber is via credit card, with the information automatically retrieved from the customer's online profile. The tip is automatically added onto the bill—the tip is anywhere from 10% to 30% of the fare and is preselected by the customer in his or her Uber profile settings—and a receipt is sent by email in real-time. Finally, the customer can then rate the driver's performance.
Uber Taxi Montreal: My Thoughts
I enjoy the fact that Uber Taxi shares driver information with the customer as soon as the dispatch is confirmed.
This adds an element of safety for both the driver and the customer since no one is anonymous.
Also, if I were to, say, forget my valuables in a driver's cab, it's much easier to track everything down with Uber since I know who my driver is and can contact them directly.
Finally, as a local who's experienced her fair share of cab waiting in the bitter, winter cold of Montreal, it's great that Uber offers customers real-time updates, not to mention an SMS text message signaling the taxi's arrival at destination.
Also a note on customer service: when Uber accidentally billed me for a taxi trip that was supposed to be free, they fixed the error and reimbursed me in a matter of minutes. As for wait times, they were comparable to the usual 5- to 10-minute wait experienced with traditional cab companies. I am, however, a little disappointed that I have to turn on my smartphone's GPS to secure a ride, compromising privacy.
And a major plus is how Uber keeps all customer trip details in my profile, which makes it easier for me to keep my taxi expenses organized when tax season rolls around, rather than have a pile of paper receipt stubs littering my files.
What About Prices?
They fluctuate. Sometimes, an Uber ride costs less than a cab. Other times, it costs more. It depends on whether a price surge due to high demand is in effect or not and which driver service the consumer selects. Consult Uber Taxi's FAQs for details.