Edited by Sarah Vander Schaaff
How is your college-aged child going to get from the airport back to campus next fall? Or get to the dentist if he or she needs a filling? Or head into the big city for a job interview when public transportation, mom’s car, or the help of a friend aren’t going to cut it.
In my own town of Princeton, Uber is said to be giving standard taxis a run for their money. According to the company, drivers who “partnered” with Uber earned 656 million dollars collectively in the last three months of 2014.
Just last month, when our high school intern at Mindprint explained how she got from the school campus to our offices in downtown Princeton, this transportation trend became too close to home to ignore.
Here is her guest post on the subject. And while I am still clinging to the yellow and black taxi as a symbol of transportation, I think all parents should educate themselves on the app that may already be on a teenager’s phone.
Why I Used Uber
By Saarika Kumar
During my five-week senior project period, I used Uber frequently. My senior project was an internship at Mindprint Learning, an Edtech startup on Nassau Street in Princeton. During this time, I was still required to attend my AP art history class at school, each day of the week. When planning my senior project, travel was a main concern, as I am currently in the process of obtaining my driver’s license. I was unsure how I would travel from school to Nassau Street. My mother had read about Uber and used it with a friend in New York City. Although she is aware of the bad publicity surrounding the company, she has a comfort level with me using it, as she is able to track my whereabouts, using the app.
Uber is a very convenient service, as one is able to quickly request a ride through an easy to use smartphone app. The app allows you to enter a pickup location as well as a final destination. You are able to see who your driver is, the car he or she is driving and their license plate. Also, you can check the driver’s estimated arrival time, as well as an estimated arrival time to your destination. In addition, using the app, you can enter a credit card that is automatically billed for each ride.
For me, Uber is extremely useful, as I do not have to request a ride in advance, and am able to quickly identify my driver, by his car and license plate. I have always felt safe using Uber, and my mother has always had a comfort level, knowing that she is able to track my location at all times. The only negative about Uber is that communication with the driver is sometimes a challenge. For example, when I request to be picked up at school, Uber sends the driver to the ice-skating rink, rather than the main entrance of the school. Each time, I have to direct the driver to the main entrance. Sometimes the driver does not understand my instructions and ends up taking at least five minutes to reach me. As Uber expands its network, hopefully this glitch will be fixed, and location services will be more accurate. Also, during rush hour times, such as around 4pm, there is sometimes a lack of Uber drivers available.
Personally, I did not consider taking a standard taxi, as I needed rides quickly. Taking a taxi would mean that I would have to book in advance, and find a safe, trustworthy company. Using Uber allows me to be flexible with my schedule, and decide when I want to leave school and work each day. Living in Princeton, Uber seems to be very popular with college students, who have similar needs to mine. Overall, I would recommend Uber for quick, safe and affordable rides.
Good luck to Saarika as she heads off to college this fall! We’ll miss her at Mindprint.
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