Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Uber not for us

We has returned from Sydney after a nice holiday. There will be whinges and complaints, but it was a great little holiday in a great world class city.

We chose to try Uber for the first time. The booking app has sat unused for a long time on my phone. Our flight was to depart at 10.00am and so the evening before I ordered an Uber car using the app. R said, the indicated price does not sound much cheaper than a cab. The indicated price was $45 to $60. I thought the taxi fare might be $65.

We were given a window of 15 minutes for when our Uber car would turn up. Of course we were down there early to be ready for our trip with a pick up time 8.25 to 8.40. I think the Uber came at 8.32. Five minutes before we were picked up an sms arrived informing us the cost might be greater than indicated. In the meantime, two people standing on the street with suitcases received many flashing lights from passing taxis who were hoping for an airport fare.

Our driver was Mustafa from Afghanistan. I am not sure why Uber needed to inform us of the country of his birth. Mustafa did not jump out of his car to help us with our cases, but was a perfectly satisfactory driver in his modest car. I like my hairdressers and cab drivers to not chat to me, but Mustafa wanted to chat and I saw that you can score conversation with the driver on the Uber app. He was a nice enough bloke and had been Ubering for ten months. I gave him the highest score on the app.


$101.40 
Thanks for choosing Uber, Andrew
October 30, 2017 | uberX | Surge x2.2

Picture of Mustafa
You rode with Mustafa
28.10
kilometers
00:38:01
Trip time
uberX
Car


Normal Fare$42.27
Surge x2.2 50.72
Subtotal$92.99
Citylink: NW Kings Way - Tullamarine Fwy Toll (?)7.86
Booking Fee (?)0.55


Booking fee? The only way you can book an Uber is with the app. Extraordinary.

I estimate we paid about $35 more than we would have in a taxi, given the slow traffic into the airport on the Monday morning. Mustafa told us there were over 100 Uber drivers at the airport waiting for a fare, so he would not wait there. So, 100 idle Uber drivers at the airport yet we pay surge pricing to get to the airport. I do not understand this.

Upon our return from Sydney R almost succumbed to a taxi tout within the airport with a cheap price of $65 to the city. We are a bit further on from the airport than the city by a kilometre or two. It was his official and expensive appearance, R said. Yes, the tout was wearing a very nice suit. That is what they do to convince tourists. I was cross with R for even responding to the tout and then I had to yell at R about the direction to walk to get a taxi. He was a bit frazzled.

There was a taxi organiser person at the rank and told us which bay to stand in. Within a couple of minutes a taxi pulled up. The driver was not at all chatty, which suited us. He received a $2 tip from me as I rather liked that he drove a little over the speed limit and got us back home quickly. I never speed, but I don't mind other people doing so moderately if I am their passenger. 

The taxi fare, $60.90, as against the Uber fare in the other direction of $101. Uber is not for us. FU Uber.

31 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, that price is outrageous. I was gasping over the $60.90. The $101 left me clutching my heart:)

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    1. Sandra, converting to your money it doesn't sound so bad. US$47 and US$76. The options are taking the car, about $50 parking, then waiting for the free bus from the carpark to the airport. Allow an extra half hour, or tram to the city, change to another tram and then airport bus, $19 each plus tram fare and allow up to an extra hour. We really don't mind the $60 cab fare.

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    2. No way around the transport cost is there.
      I don't understand the surge charge. It seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot with it.
      Luckily our Uber rides have always been a positive experience. Though our daughter usually picks up the tab so I don't know how the pricing plays out and it's inner city not driving in from the airport.

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  2. Interesting to hear the other side of Uber.

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    1. Indeed Marie. We were quite annoyed and certainly disappointed.

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  3. It wouldn't be for me either. That is exorbitant. Glad your holiday was good though.

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  4. I have never tried Uber because of the uncertainty about their formal taxi driver registration and insurance. If you are in an accident, how responsible would Uber be?

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    1. Hels, I too wonder about that, but I doubt they would be allowed to not have those things.

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  5. Anonymous9:46 am

    Sydney screws you every which way she can which is why I no longer live there in my retirement. I have income from a good super but the cost of living in Sydney would have chewed it up very quickly and I am not an extravagant spender.
    Touts? You don't know what touts are until you've tried Bangkok airport. On the other hand, for $80 I could get you a limo to take you the 150k to Pattaya on the motorway all tolls included. - Ian sounding a little smug this morning.

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    1. Ian, no one ever said Sydney was a cheap city. Actually, we found the food there cheaper than Melbourne. I've been to Thailand three times and I do know what the touts are like. Our Brother Friends pay about $80 from the airport to Pattaya.

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  6. Anonymous11:45 am

    Moral of the tale: when you get that "surge" message, that's presumably when you should cancel and hail those headlight-flashing cabs. (I don't know how possible it is to do that.)

    You've got to wonder if the "surge" was really so unpredictable when they took the booking and gave you that indicative fare.

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    1. Marcellous, we received the text message about five minutes before the Uber arrived and it did say the price would be higher and I could cancel without charge for the next 5 minutes. I didn't expect it to be double. Yes, I should have grabbed a cab at that point. There was no reason for the surge. The weather was dry, public transport working well, plenty of taxis and the road to the airport clear.

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  7. Would always get a Taxi if I had to in Melbourne as used do when there on business trips, but of course then they didn't have Uber and I don't think Uber is as good as they say it is from feedback.

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    1. Margaret, you can be sure we will use cabs in the future, if the government is not mucking them up, which it seems it might do.

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  8. So often, things that we hope to be less expensive, actually turn-out to be more expensive. Life grabs you!

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    1. Cro, so often true. Our taxis were heavily regulated for very good reasons.

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  9. I was lucky when I lived in Adelaide because a friend had told us about Executive Passenger Service, who always charged us reasonable prices and set rates.

    I do not Uber. I do not and would not AirBNB. I think maybe I am a generation too late for these things. ;)

    The last time we flew, we parked at Sydney Airport Blue Emu carpark. On arrival back home we discovered a parking fine on the car. While we were gone, they had "renovated" the carpark and for the last 2 days of our 12 day trip, we were parked in a no parking area. It was a parking area when we left, nobody told us that was going to change, and if they had told us, would we have flown back to move the car? I think not. We disputed the fine and it was reversed. I would never do that again. There is a company called Park N Fly that my parents use and it is reliable and excellent, we just were being cheap when we booked ours and Park N Fly was $79 more expensive. Turns out that is almost exactly how much the parking fine was!

    There might be a Melbourne variant of EPS. ;)

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    1. Snoskred, I share your view of AirBNB but I do know of older people using it and not having a problem. We certainly would not want to be in an AirBNB with the owner or a fellow guest.

      Surely the prime rule for changing parking is to note down the plate numbers of legally parked cars. Very unprofessional of Sydney Airport and I guess you would have gone as far as the High Court to prove you were right. We have in the past used one of those offsite parking places. It was fine but you do have to allow a good bit of extra time to be transported. We've tried every way, but you just can't beat hailing a passing cab for speed and convenience, and that is why we are prepared to pay the price.

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  10. I'm a regular happy user of both AirBnB and Uber. Whenever I see there's a surge on, I always cancel. As such, I always pay considerably less than a regular tax. The surge can catch people out, as it did, a couple of years ago. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-uber-prices-surge-by-800-per-cent-on-new-years-eve-20160101-glxxv0.html

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    1. Thanks James. Clearly I am not happy with my virgin experience with Uber but I do have an open mind on AirBNB. It is a bit strange that the normal price for an Uber to the airport is not so different to the taxi fare. I think it was when there was a massive train control system breakdown here when Uber prices surged by the amount you mention. We may use Uber when overseas, but after our experience in Melbourne, not in Australia.

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  11. I am glad that a read this post ! I just had heard that Uber is expensive and was surprised. I just had found out that with Uber from Brussels to Cologne it was more then the train !! Crazy then they can keep their Uber cars for the rich ! I like to speak with all people it's so interesting. My last taxi driver was in Dublin and in half an hour I knew his whole family story ! and that the rent is very expensive ! Be happy that you are not sharing a car with me you would be deaf by the end of the trip !

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    1. Gattina, at least if I was sharing a car with you, I would be laughing.

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  12. Welcome back Andrew. I've never used Uber, but glad to hear of your experience and that compared to taxis they might not be cheaper at all. I've often used Airbnb though and I've been happy with the outcome all of those times.

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    1. Thanks Sami. Your good experiences with Airbnb were in my mind when I was writing.

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  13. FU Uber indeed. Some interesting experience here.

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    1. Victor, and a one off experience for us.

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  14. When Uber first came to Australia there was a lot of bad about it on the radio news, we heard about the price gouging, the surge etc and a few jokes went around about how they'll quote you a price, but if you have an extra person that's extra cost, suitcases are extra per case and if you're wearing clothes that look expensive they'll hit you for extra because you look like you can afford it.
    I'll stick with buses than you very much. our buses to the airport are reliable, fare is cheap and you don't have to worry about car parking fees.

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    1. River, I remember looking at your airport bus service and it was quite good and not expensive. It is so time consuming for us to use public transport to the airport.

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  15. I've used Uber quite a bit and find them to be far superior to taxis in most ways. But yes, steer clear of surge pricing events.

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    1. Fen, I dunno. I've never had an issue with a taxi in Australia.

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