Ever since we got back from Adelaide, I’ve noticed that it’s really difficult to get a cab. We used to be able to flag a cab down along the road near our place, but recently, I haven’t been able to get a single cab at all! I’ve seen so many empty cabs whizz by, all refusing to stop for some strange reason, and when I try to book one, there are none available. How frustrating!
One day, I waited for more than half an hour, and ended up having to take the bus, then the train, followed by a 15-minute walk with Noah strapped in the Manduca, just to get to his Gymnademics class. We were so horribly late that day, and I was in a really bad mood from all the waiting and walking.
A friend of mine told me about UberX, which is the cheaper alternative to UberExec. (It’s the round icon on the bottom right of your screen, so make sure you choose the right one!) Uber has been in Singapore for more than a year already, but I haven’t tried it before, as we’ve been overseas for some time. Anyway, all you have to do is download the app on your smart phone, sign up (you’ll need to have your credit card details ready), and you’re all set.
I’ve been taking the UberX since then, and found that it’s a lot easier to get an UberX than a cab. Better yet, it’s cheaper! I spoke to the UberX drivers that I encountered, and here’s what I’ve learnt.
1. UberX is basically like a taxi service, but with unmarked cars. 2. When you book your UberX, you are able to track where your car is coming from, and how far away it is, so that you know when to make your way to your pickup point. 3. You’ll also be able to see a photo of your driver, as well as his car license plate, so you can look out for it. This is particularly helpful, since the cars are unmarked, and you don’t want to accidentally board the wrong car. 4. Each UberX can take a maximum of four passengers, and has a minimum fare of $8, which means that if your destination isn’t very far, you might be better off taking the bus instead. 5. There is no booking fee and no peak hour surcharge. The “flag down rate” or base fare is $3.50, which is lower than what many taxis charge. The meter rate is $0.20/min and $0.31/km, which I think is cheaper than most taxi companies’ rates as well. I’m not too sure about this, because like I said, I haven’t been able to get cabs recently. 6. There isn’t a physical meter in the cars, so you don’t actually know how much your cab fare is, but your driver should be able to tell you how much it is, when you arrive at your destination. You can also use the ‘fare quote’ to get an estimate, before you book the UberX, if you like. 7. No cash is needed, as your credit card will be automatically charged after your ride, and you’ll receive the receipt in your registered email account after that.
My experience with UberX has been pretty good so far. I like that it is cashless, which saves me the hassle of digging out my wallet, hoping that I have enough cash with me, waiting for my change, and trying to convince Noah that he doesn’t need to hold my money for me. Because it’s not as established as the other taxi companies, there aren’t that many UberX cars around. However, I think they are expanding quite rapidly, as the drivers don’t have to apply for a special license, and the car rental rates are lower than the traditional taxi companies’. So far, I’ve still been able to book an UberX whenever I need one, although I’ve had to try for about ten minutes on a few occasions. I also like that there is no booking fee, but I still get all the perks of booking the ride. On most occasions, the fare was lower than what I would have normally paid, even if I had flagged down a regular cab.
Want to try UberX? Use the discount code b8xa1 when you register, to get $10 off your first Uber ride!
UPDATE: There will be peak and off-peak rates for UberX from 1 September 2014.
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