My recent trip to Los Angeles had introduced me to Uber app. My son said,” you have to learn how to use google map and use Uber to take a ride mom!” Yes my dear, I will! With his busy schedule, he tried hard to take me anywhere but I have to take a few trips here and there with Uber. I found it very easy and dependable. When I came back from holiday, to my amusement I found the apps working in Jeddah too!
Huh? since when? through my research Uber had become operational last April 2014 in Riyadh and expanded recently to Jeddah and Dammam. It attracts many woman passengers the most.Why? Women are not allowed to drive in the Kingdom. We are dependent to company driver, taxi and relatives to take us to work and to other places. In addition, women are not allowed to travel alone with a male driver who is not closely related, like he should be your husband,brother or close relatives. Imagine the difficulties expatriates ,women in particular are facing everyday!
My brother used to take me to work everyday and now that he is on holiday , I have to take a taxi to go to work and shopping.:-) My co-worker at first recommends “Easy Taxi”, I tried and I found nothing special about it. It’s the same taxi you find on the street, you’re lucky to find a clean car but as usual there’s a bonus of smell..yes! I’ve been in the Kingdom for so long (29 yrs) and there’s only a few rides (a lucky day, i guess) that the driver has no smell. My first experience was not really good, the driver charged me 15SR which usually a 10SR trip. I rated him with a one star for dishonesty because I got my Easy Taxi receipt for only 10SR. He called me after the ride and why should I take the call? I don’t want to hear what he gonna say. Why should I use an Easy Taxi if I can find a lot of taxi on the road? Probably a bit cheaper and you can haggle with the fare? Maybe!
And so, I tried Uber!
My first trip: I wrote my address in the app , but the research didn’t turn out well, so I used a different spelling and wallah it works! huh! arabic names is so confusing. I can see from the map that the driver is only a minute away but I can’t see him or can’t contact him so I waited and after 5 minutes, he cancelled my trip! What?
Suddenly, the car (Hyundai Tucson) was right infront of me, the driver was waving his hand, I look at the car and plate number, oh this is it! So I went in..so neat and no smell, good 🙂
Uber driver :”Es hada madame? ana tassel marah, mafi kalam” (What happened madame, I called you many times and you’re not answering)
Me: huh? really? The phone is in my hand.
Uber Driver: mafi kalam English.
Me: (to make my story short, I will translate the conversation in English 🙂 ) Just take me please to Thalia, I can’t find the address on the map.
I reached my work place in 18 minutes and I was charged twice 15SR and 17SR, what?? you are a thief ! more than Easy Taxi. So I was murmuring, I gonna write an email to the company and before I can do it, I received an email from Uber with a subj: Receipt for cancelled trip 🙂
“When a trip is cancelled more than five minutes after a driver accepts, or if the driver has to cancel after waiting more than five minutes at the pick up location, a Sr15 cancellation fee is charged.”
OMG! so it’s my mistake that the driver can’t find me?
” If you think this was mistake, please visit help.uber.com or tap HELP in the menu panel of the Uber app and we’ll make it right.”
and so when I tapped the menu, suddenly I remembered what the driver said .. I called many times..OMG ! I didn’t change my phone number, It’s my USA number 🙂 my mistake!
2nd trip: after changing my USA number to KSA number.
again, Hyundai, Santa Fe, clean car and driver (speaking English) with water and tissue at the back 🙂 This time I was charged 11Sr.
After riding 5 more trips, I choose Uber than Easy taxi. Though it’s a bit expensive than a normal taxi, I am happy I can sit quietly in the car without covering my nose and mouth 🙂
Ladies, this is not the only available rides connecting you to a driver on app, there are more i.e.. Mondo ride, Careem and Taxi Pixi. I haven’t tried yet, maybe soon. For now, I am satisfied with the Uber service. I choose to pay by credit card, although there are three choices: cash,master card and visa card.
- better drop a pin on location, copy the address and save it!
- check the correct spelling of the street before searching
- use “estimate the fare”
- Uber does not mandate a tip and driver do not drive expecting a tip, but you can 🙂
Good luck! Have a safe and happy ride.