If you haven’t already heard, Uber has finally made its way into Brampton. If you’re wondering what Uber is, it describes itself as “Everyone’s private driver…evolving the way the world moves by seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through [an] app.” So how does this new way of getting around stack up against taxi service? Let’s find out.

Uber Basics

Requesting an Uber — Requesting an Uber to come and pick you up is not at all like requesting a taxi. There’s no need to call or wave one down frivolously from the side of the road. With Uber, you simply download their smart phone app that will allow you to request a ride from your phone at anytime and from anywhere. Simply let Uber find your location and they’ll send a driver to pick you up upon your request.image3

Cost & Payment— In the app you have the option to see the estimated price for the trip you’d like to take. This price is based on the base fare, which ranges from $2 and up, as well as your distance. Everything with Uber is digital. When you download the app, you are required to enter a payment method (PayPal or credit card) before requesting your first ride. No need to carry cash or tip. Uber rides are paid through the app.

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Safety — Before your Uber driver arrives you’ll know their name, what they look like, what type of car they’re driving and their license plate number–all through their Uber profile available on the app. You’ll also know how well others have rated them. Uber drivers are required to pass a background check before becoming drivers and must uphold at least a 4 star rating to continue driving for Uber.

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Types Of Service — Uber offers 5 different classes of service–uberX, uberXL, uberSELECT, uberBLACK and uberSUV. Depending on your needs you can request any one of these types of services through the app at any time.

Now, on paper Uber seems to be the clear winner, but how does it stack up against the tried and true taxi? Our Editor Nikita took a ride in both to find out. She travelled from Trinity Commons Mall to Bramalea City Centre to see whether Uber or a taxi would come out on top. She judged both rides based on cost, timeliness, efficiency of the driver and overall experience.

Cost

Uber was the clear winner here. The Uber ride from one mall to the other cost $10.72, which was well within the estimated price. The taxi on the other hand, cost $19.25, which was $8.53 more than Uber. I appreciate Uber’s transparency with prices, you know how much it’s going to cost before you even request a pickup. Nobody likes sitting in a cab staring daggers at the meter hoping it doesn’t go over the amount of cash you’re carrying.

Timeliness & Efficiency of Driver

I was hoping to be proven wrong about the not-so-coy tricks taxis sometimes play. But this particular taxi driver took a route that I didn’t find particularly efficient. Uber on the other hand automatically shows you the fastest route and gives you an ETA when your driver picks you up. I felt assured that I was not being swindled in some way. In a cab the meter moves no matter what, and it can be pretty depressing to helplessly watch it rise as you sit at a red light waiting to make a left turn.

Overall Experience

Uber wins, hands down. Here’s why. My driver showed up in a timely fashion. Of course I could see his location as he drove to pick me and I received the trusty text upon his arrival to my location.

My Uber driver offered me a water, he asked me what radio statin I’d like and even chatted with me. The customer service went a long way and made the drive pleasant. Because you’re required to rate your driver after each ride, and because drivers have to maintain a 4 star rating to continue driving Uber, I’ve found that service has been pleasant on every one of my rides. His car (and pretty much every other Uber car I’ve ever been in) was clean and very well-kept.

My taxi? Not so much. That isn’t to say there aren’t clean taxis, there are, they just happen to be on the rare side. My taxi driver didn’t chat with me. But that was okay, sometimes the quiet is nice. I felt that my taxi driver took a bit of a scenic route to the destination, and knowing the area well, I could tell right away. With Uber, when you feel your driver has taken a longer route, you can request a refund. I’ve only done this once and the extra money spent on the longer-than-necessary trip was refunded within 48 hours. Uber drivers get paid far less when sitting in traffic, so they generally don’t like to have to do so.

A few last thoughts

If it isn’t clear by now, Uber has very obviously come out on top in my opinion. People appreciate new innovations that make their lives easier, and that’s why Uber has done so well. That isn’t to say it’s perfect. Cancelling an Uber when your driver is already on the way could cost you, usually it’s a $5 fee. A taxi on the other hand, it costs you nothing to call in and cancel before it gets there. The other issue with Uber is that during peak periods higher fares are imposed due to high demand. Such times could be during rush hour or a random spike in requests. This rarely happens in Brampton, as people are just starting to use Uber now. But if you ever find yourself in Downtown Toronto during rush hour, you’ll find yourself paying higher prices. Overall though, Uber seems to stack up much higher than taxis and even with surge prices it’s still very comparable. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s cheaper.

Which service do you think is better? Share your thoughts in the comments below!