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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

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An Uber-easy way to hitch a ride.
An Uber-easy way to hitch a ride.

A taxi app that is truly Uber

Experience tells me that you can’t always trust a name. Just because a business calls itself "A1" or "Ultimate" doesn’t make it true. There’s an exception and it’s called Uber.

Before a recent trip to Chicago someone suggested I download the Uber app for my iPhone (it's also available for Android, Blackberry and Windows phones) and test out its transportation model.

Uber, basically, is a quick and easy way to order a cab, a black car or a private SUV ride.

Create an account, download the app and you’re good to go. Open the app and it immediately finds you and shows you the cars in your area (you can even watch your car as it makes its way to you). A driver accepts your request immediately and you see the driver’s name, photo and car number. At the tap of a button you can send a text or call the driver.

A text tells you how long you’ll wait and another pops up to let you know the car is arriving, in case you’re waiting inside, for example.

With two exceptions, every time I requested a cab during my Windy City weekend, one arrived within minutes. In one of those exceptions, two drivers confirmed but must have picked up other fares en route and so I had to request three times to get a cab. But, all told, that still only took about five minutes from first call to opening the taxi door.

Another time, out in Bucktown on a Saturday night, no cabs were available, so I called a slightly more expensive black car ($19 versus about $13 spent on a cab to get out to Bucktown from Old Town), which arrived in four minutes.

Better still, the credit card info is part of my profile, so I didn’t pay or tip a single driver. It all automatically charged my card. A receipt more detailed than anyone could ever want – including average speed, mileage of trip, duration, etc. – is immediately emailed to you.

No muss, no fuss. Truly uber.

Alas, Uber isn’t yet available for Milwaukee. But they recently added Detroit so we can’t be far behind, can we?

Talkbacks

dmejcnj | March 29, 2013 at 12:36 p.m. (report)

There is also an app called Taxi Magic for finding cabs. I was just introduced to it on a trip to New Orleans, so I haven't tried it in Milwaukee.

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