A Year With Uber

-Kavyashree P., I Year B.A. English
Image Source: http://www.uber.com/en-IN/

Uber is not just a taxi service for me. It’s a part of my daily life, quite literally. I use Uber almost every single day – to college, extra classes, wherever I’m going with my friends, and back home.

I’ve been using Uber since 2015, which is 7 years after Uber was started by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. I was very apprehensive about it because I had rarely travelled alone before, and my mother reading out articles about rape cases involving taxi drivers wasn’t helpful. Nevertheless, I took that first ride and now I have completed around 400 rides. I still do have fears about my safety, but I’m definitely not as nervous as I used to be. I always call and tell my mother, who is on standby, once I’ve boarded my taxi and tell her the vehicle details. Though I have my earphones plugged in, I always keep an eye on the route we’re taking.

Over these 2 years, I have obviously ridden with many different drivers, a majority of whom were amazing, but to keep the balance, there were also a few annoying ones. To me, the best thing an Uber driver can do is understand that if I have my headphones on, it means that I don’t want to chat. It may come across as rude, but I don’t really want to be making small talk all the way to where I’m headed. Most drivers understand this and drive away with 5 stars.

This year I had 2 pleasant surprises from Uber. The first one came in October. I had booked my cab and called my driver, and was a little surprised to hear a lady’s voice. I asked if this was the Uber driver and she replied saying yes. I decided not to question her further and asked her to come to the pick-up location. After ending the call, I looked at the driver’s details and saw a lady’s name. The feminist in me was delighted.

There were 4 red lights on the route we took that day. And at every single one of them, the same thing happened. First, the commuters in the nearby vehicles would look inside the car and look a little shocked at seeing a woman behind the wheel. Then, they would look at the backseat of the car and be more shocked to see a passenger. They would, then, look at the number plate on the vehicle, more shocked at seeing a yellow-board car. All through this, our heroine would unflinchingly just stare at the road or back at our co-commuters with an exasperated look.

I did not talk to her at all throughout the ride, because I’m not very good at starting conversations, but I wish I had. However, I did leave her a note through the Uber app saying how happy I was to see women in the service.

The second surprise was the personalised ‘Year with Uber’ video. You can “view your own 2017 year-in-review music video directed by your trip history.” It’s a really cool video with details like how many trips you’ve taken this year, how many kilometres you’ve covered, etc.

Now, I can’t really compare Uber with any other similar service because I don’t use another one. I seem to have some bad luck with Ola because, for some reason, 99% of my rides get cancelled. Since most of my family members use Uber, I don’t have any other option. But hey, I’m not complaining!

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