Admit it, we all think it. Everyone wonders what that trip out would have been like if you'd had your own chauffeur. Well the classy alternative to the traditional London black can is here. Uber has hopped over the pond to offer Londoners a taste of the chauffeur driven lifestyle and it's pretty unique demand led dynamic pricing model.
I took my first Uber this morning and the experience is an exciting one. Armed with my iPhone (and a £20 off coupon) I loaded up the sleek Uber app which pins your location and tells you how far away the nearest driver is. From here you simply request a driver and you can then follow their progress live on the map.
On arrival of your classy Mercedes, Jaguar or as in my case BMW you are alerted by a text. My driver was called Theo, which I was informed of by the app, and on arrival he got out his car and opened the door for me to get inside. Little touches inside really helped finish off the experience including copies of GQ and Intelligent Life.
You inform your driver of your destination as you would any other taxi with the key difference being that on arrival you simply depart the vehicle and get on your way with the cost of your journey being debited from your account.
As an experience Uber is seamless and enjoyable and the convenience of essentially having a your own private car on demand within twenty minutes is a big plus. However the additional cost factor involved compared has to be remembered. At a premium above the ubiquitous black cab rate and significantly dearer than the extensive public transport network it's definitely a less austere option.
Uber faces a number of challengers vying for a similar space, though arguably aiming at a more price conscious and time sensitive consumer, in the form of Hailo and Kabbee. Of a more similar ilk is Addison Lee though they clearly don't feature the dynamic pricing model that Uber uses to manage demand, have branded vehicles and their wait times seem to be in general longer.
Ultimately Ubers biggest bonus is its brand, it's cool factor and it's tech following. At the last few events I've attended whether you've taken an Uber to get there or are taking one home has been the talk of night with everyone sharing voucher codes and giving it fantastic lip service. If Uber can keep that sexy tech brand going its onto a winner.
If you fancy giving it a whirl download the app from the Uber app from the AppStore, sign up and enter ubercanning into the promotions box for a £10 voucher.