Uber was introduced to me in San Francisco by Steve Simms last year. At that stage I signed up but didn't get time to try the service. However now Uber is in Auckland I'm already enjoying having a new way of getting about that's smarter and more cost effective than traditional taxis.
Based around a an app, Uber ensures a more refined experience than that of a typical taxi thanks to good use of technology:
- Customers book a ride from an app that shows you where nearby vehicles are, how long it will take to pick you up, and an estimate of what the fare will be
- When you've placed a booking you can see a photo of the driver who will collect you, the type of car that is coming (and it's license plate number), a rating of the driver and a live map showing where the car is currently
- The driver will pick you up from the GPS location of your phone - though you can adjust this if you want picking up at a slightly different location
- You can have direct contact with the driver as the app provides an option to call or SMS the driver direct to their mobile. Handy for instance if you're at a hard to find location, or if you need to check when they'll arrive.
- Upon reaching your destination, you don't have to spend your time arranging payment - this happens automatically via the app
- After completion of the journey you can rate driver (and they can rate you)
Already launched in 33 countries globally, Uber has been growing quickly in the Asia-Pacific region with services in Australia, China, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan.
Initially there aren't a large number of Uber vehicles on the road, but if you'd like to try the service now or once they're in full service click through and get $25 Uber credit code (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) to try it out - I also get a credit if you sign up and take a ride. You can also enter this Uber Promo Code inside the app or on the Uber website: ubernz (or eats-ubernz for Ubereats promo).
Update July 2015: Uber is now in Auckland, Wellington and very soon in Christchurch. Globally Uber now offer service in well over 200 cities.
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