First of all, thanks to those of you who have missed me/my posts in the last week. I was suffering from a very severe case of vacation re-entry syndrome. I’m sure you’ve all experienced this malady. You know you’ve come down with it when you return from an idyllic vacation to an empty fridge, a full-to-bursting email in box, and the nagging feeling that perhaps your husband was right that you were insane to sign up for a week-long writing workshop the day after you got back from a big trip (oh wait – maybe that’s just me).
At any rate, I am back, both from vacation and from my blogging absence. On my mind today is Uber (perhaps because I’m driving the “mommy bus” this afternoon, picking up 6 kids on camp carpool duty). My family used Uber on this past vacation, both to and from the airport. Although I’ve read a lot about how to save money with Uber, I still had some questions about the basics: how much would it cost, which type of car should we choose, when should I request the car, etc. So I decided to put it to the test, then share what I learned with all of you.
My Uber Experience
My family needed a ride to the airport because we were flying out of San Francisco and back into Oakland. While we could have asked a friend for a lift, both our departure and our arrival times were inconvenient (if you weren’t on vacation like we were), and I thought it would be a great opportunity to take Uber for a spin.
My husband Josh and I each took advantage of a great Uber promo last month, so we each started out with $35 of free money in our Uber accounts. It took us about 5 minutes to set up our accounts on our phones (Uber is all handled via app and text).
We live about 25 miles from the San Francisco Airport, so I knew our ride was going to be pricey. A few days before our trip, I studied the chart below to try and figure out how much our total cost was going to be. I must admit that it was a little confusing.
I emailed their “local community manager” with questions: could my family of four (and our luggage) fit into an UberX? Did they have a set price from Oakland to SFO? The community manager got back to me right away with answers: no, and no. She recommended an SUV, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and gamble on an UberBlack. I kew their policy was that if you order an UberBlack but they send an SUV (which apparently happens a lot), they will only charge you for what you ordered.
10 minutes before we were ready to go, Josh placed the order from his phone. We got confirmation back instantly that a driver would be at our doorstep in 10 minutes. Sure enough, an immaculate, shiny Black SUV rolled up in 9 minutes and 13 seconds (my kids were keeping track).
Our driver was super friendly. He had bottled water in the car (another very exciting moment for my kids), and he clearly knew the area and exactly how to get to our destination (a very exciting moment for me). It was actually a relaxing ride across the bridge to San Francisco – much different than a shuttle would have been.
Our fare rang in at $117, which was a little more than I was expecting. However, this total did include a 20% tip, and then we had a $35 credit, so our total cost was $82 all-in. If we had taken a shuttle, we would have paid $70 (not including tip), and if we had taken a private van we would have paid $107 (again, not including tip), so I was okay with the final price.
I didn’t quite understand the cost breakdown before I booked the ride, so I am including a snapshot of our fare here so you can see it.
Our ride back from the Oakland airport was much less expensive, ringing in at $53. After applying my $35 credit, we spent a total of $18. Not bad!! In fact, really good!! Again, we requested an UberBlack car and got an SUV. Again, our driver was super friendly. The second driver was not as familiar with the area so we had to give him directions, which was fine, just not as relaxing. And my kids want me to tell you that there was no water in the second car, which was also fine, just not as luxurious.
My Uber Review
In a word, amazing. Loved it. I wish it was a little less expensive, but in this case I would say that you get every bit of what you pay for.
If you would like to try Uber yourself, now is a very good time to sign up, because they are offering their best signup bonus ever ($45). If you sign up using my link, you will get $20 deposited into your Uber account immediately, and I will get $20 when you take your first ride. You can get another $25 credit deposited into your account (for free!) if you request one through Amazon Local.
I hope that some of you will be able to hop on this great offer and save some cash on your summer travels!
Personally, I’m off to drive the “mommy bus.”