Not feeling Uber love

Lots, it appears, is going wrong for Uber at the moment after being the young upstart in the ride-sharing business.

It seems Uber’s popularity is taking a downswing while ride share apps are still being introduced to the market.

Not only is Uber struggling with internal issues, it appears their market advantage has disappeared about as fast as beachfront in Kelowna this spring.

I was a reluctant adopter, rather than an early adopter of Uber. I was in Los Angeles for meetings nearly two years ago and our host was educating me about the benefits of Uber and, before I knew it, my ride home to my hotel arrived at the door.

I was impressed, not only with the services but the fare was a far cry from my taxi ride to the meeting — in fact one-fifth of the price. 

Fast forward to this week and a lot more than Uber’s share price has changed.

In New York, the Uber rides were two to four times the price they were a few months ago when I was last there. I get it, supply and demand economics; it is summer.

But food and beer didn’t increase… just the Uber fare. In fact, they were also more difficult to get and I occasionally was faced with a fare increase just as I booked, something Expedia excels at when you try and book a flight on their platform.

On the last day, we needed a ride to JFK and Uber kept changing their price while I was trying to book.

So we grabbed a limo and for less than the quoted ride of an UberX, we were driven out to the airport in a timely and very professional manner.

Just today, I arrived in LA and needed a ride to a meeting. I brought out my Uber app and went to hail a ride. I got a fare — $25. Perfect, perhaps New York was just an anomaly.

I clicked the book my ride button and received the message that Uber was recalculating my fare. Then, the fare doubled to over $50. 

I was ticked off, but distracted myself for a few minutes. Then, checked again. Wait a minute, now it was $35.

I figured I should book it quick. I clicked the button and nothing happened, perhaps bad cell service. I quickly went back on my browser and started again. Now, it was $57. I was frustrated to say the least. 

I decided to take a cab. If it cost more, so be it. I jumped in the cab went to my destination and was given a bill for $42. Better than the quoted fare from Uber.

So remind me again why I should love Uber because for me at least, the warm and fuzzies have all but gone away.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
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Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

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