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Tuesday, May 26, 2015


It's bad enough that I have difficulty dealing with aps for my computer.  At one time I taught computer courses at the University of Hawaii and was the guy asked by the Computer Center which main frame to purchase.  Now, just turning on my computer can be a problem.  Maureen Dowd, however, in her op ed column today showed me just how obsolete I have become.  

She was mostly reporting on Uber, a transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, which first began carpooling operations last year, but international sites began as early as 2012.  To summarize, Uber hires drivers using their personal cars to pick up customers in selected cities through your mobile phone.  USA Today named Uber its 2013 Tech Company of the Year.  But the Better Business Bureau last year gave Uber an F rating.  The competition includes Lyft, Sidecar, Ola Cabs and Haxi.

Earlier this month I was in San Francisco and was faced with a decision to go from my hotel at the airport to Chez Panisse in Berkeley and back (prices are roundtrip):
  • BART:  $18, but by the time I could leave, the timing meant that I would probably be late for my reservation.
  • Uber:  $70, however, I had never used this option before, and did not have the ap for my phone.  Here is how to do it.
  • Taxi:  $140, yikes, the expense.
To quote Dowd:

Coming from a family of Irish maids, I had been looking forward to the concierge democracy, where we could all be masters of Downton Abbey, butled by drones and summoning staff by just touching our smartphones.

Here is a summary of Dowd's article:

  • She was on travel and smugly indicated she did not have to rent a car anymore, for all she had to do was make an Uber contact.
  • She contacted, her phone showed a map with Uber cars, but they all, save for one, went the other way from her location.  This puzzled her.
  • She was picked up, and the driver scolded her he was taking a chance, for she had a low rating.
  • Yes, not only do you rate (1 to 5, the best) the Uber driver, but they rate you (phone number) too.
    • Thus, you need to be a pleasant occupant and can't be late for the pickup (Dowd's defect).
    • Her reaction was that Uber is not just a ride, it's an irritated boyfriend.
    • While everyone told me you don't need to tip the driver, NO TIPPING LOWERS YOUR RATING!
    • Do you sit in the front to be a friend?
    • Can you afford the error of sitting in the back to talk on your cellphone?
    • It seems that what works is, after you pay and don't tip, to emphatically indicate, "5 for 5," meaning I'll give you five points but you'd better also rate me a 5.  So stressful.  
  • You can't throw up in an Uber car, for the fine could be $200.
  • Flatulence hurts your rating.
So as out to lunch as most of us are with Uber, she goes on to further indicate:
  • Saucey:  deliver alcohol
  • Dufl:  pack your suitcase
  • Eaze:   re-up a medical marijuana supply (they promise first delivery in MINUTES)
  • Luxe:  park you car
Pretty soon we will all be judged again by these services.


1 comment:

Massagite said...

Going out lunch with UBER is trending one Uber provide complete flexible service to clients.