The Deal Mommy

First Time Uber with Kids: Four Lessons Learned

Uber with Kids

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with opinions/advice on my aversion to Uber last week. With your encouragement Deal Girl and I took the plunge this week and the results, while not perfect, were better than I feared.

We’re in Mexico City thanks to Southwest Airlines and reader Tim mentioned he had positive experiences here with Uber. Locals kept giving me advice not to take hired taxis for safety reasons and hotel called ones were exorbitant. App in hand, I gave Uber a try five times over three days and can share some four tips I learned, a couple the hard way.

  • If you’re leery of uber like I was, consider uber black. It’s the deluxe version of uber with nicer cars (and presumably better off drivers). Uber has five levels from x (meaning just anybody?) to lux. However, availability varies from city to city. In Mexico City you went from x to deluxe, skipping the in-between taxi level.  Fares for the black cars averaged 1.5 times the x cars- a premium I was happy to pay.  Even the deluxe fares were cheaper than a hotel taxi: for instance a hotel taxi from the Hyatt to the Zocalo (main square) was 250 pesos ($15) and 2 uber blacks were 221 and 187.
  • The GPS may not pinpoint you as well as you think. You are much better typing in an address, at least in Mexico City.  The problems I had with uber were not with the drivers, but with the system. Because my location wasn’t input accurately (one Hyatt pickup put us in the middle of the street over a block away) the driver was destined to fail.
  • After 5 minutes you’re charged a cancellation fee, whether it’s your fault or not.  One uber black we called from Coyocan showed itself 6 minutes away when I ordered. That six went from six to eight to ten to five to seven etc until we just gave up.  I still got dinged 100 pesos (6$) and was told when I complained “the driver waited for you”.  It’s irrelevant how long someone waits for you if you have no idea when they’re going to show up!
  • Any credits you have may not work overseas. They didn’t in Mexico City.

Now to the important part: how was the experience? In a word, great, when it worked.  The four cars we did take were all newish, clean, and with drivers who were bilingual and courteous.  We were offered water in all cabs, gum or candy in 3, and one even had English language magazines. Pickups were seamless three times and only a bit bumpy once (the location was near a pedestrian zone so it was hard for him to see us).  Getting out without worrying about payment was a big plus, especially in a crowded area.  None of the fares were out of the range I was quoted and one was lower.

I mentioned “with kids” in the post title because safety with Deal Girl in the back is more on my mind than if I were solo (although perhaps it shouldn’t be. At 8, Deal Girl no longer needs a carseat, but in very  limited cities you can get an uberfamily with carseats. Obviously if you have an infant you’re going to want a bucket seat. Laws vary whether taxis are exempt from car seats: notably in California they are not.

So would I uber again?  Yes, with qualifications. From public place a to public place b, in a taxi level or above, sure.  From my home? Unsure.  An uberX?  Unlikely.

The obligatory plug: If you want to give uber a try, use invite code UBERTHEDEALMOMMY and get $20 off your first ride (in the US).

Did the comments in the post last week about uber or does my experience change your opinion of uber? I’m especially curious to hear from those who were in the “creepy” camp as I was. As always, please share your thoughts in the comments.
The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network.


10 thoughts on “First Time Uber with Kids: Four Lessons Learned

  1. Jamie

    I’ve had the problem with the pin not locating me where I actually was also. And that was in Chicago. We hadn’t used Uber in a while (6 mo or a year) and I don’t remember having any trouble when we were first using it. Though, it doesn’t make sense that it would be a new problem. Anyway, I second the motion of double checking where it places your location. I think you can adjust the pin?
    I never heard of the cancellation fee. That’s annoying.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Jamie,
      You can adjust the pin up until the time you send the request. After you hit send you’re out of luck. Interesting it’s a USA issue too.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Love love loved Mexico City! I’ll be writing more over the next few posts but to sum up I think the problems are totally over-rated. It’s a developing country of course, but over two visits In 18 months I never felt a hint of anxiety.

  2. Laura

    I’ve been using Uber for almost 1.5 years, but only here in the U.S. I’ve used it in NYC and now in L.A. after our move from the East Coast. I’ve never had a bad experience, although I don’t like the price surges. With regards to the pin, yeah, it’s a pain to place in the exact location, so many times I’ll text the driver and tell him/her (in all my time I’ve only had 1 female Uber driver!) my exact location. Although I know the drivers aren’t supposed to text & drive, usually they type a quick “OK” back, and that works. I know this wouldnt’ work internationally if you don’t have roaming, which I never enable since it’s exorbitantly costly. I did read your Uber experience in Rome and, frankly, I think you unfortunately struck out with a sleazy driver. That could happen anywhere, although they wouldn’t be so brazen in the States. I think. I would have probably jumped out of the car at a stop light, if I could. All in all, it’s a lesson learned and thanks for sharing your story. I’m relieved you weren’t seriously harmed.

    The one thing I don’t like about Uber is that they still haven’t launched UberFamily in L.A. yet. That means for parents who need a car seat to their destination, there’s no way to use Uber. I also can’t use a cab or a shuttle without having to drag a car seat (my daughter is 3). I wish Uber would hurry up and launch that type of service here. I think they’d have a market for it. For me at least, it would shave my costs in half. As of now, I’m relying on an expensive car service that provides car seats and that’s the only way I can get to the airport on trips when we don’t drive our own car.

    Thanks for sharing your positive Uber experience in D.F. I still haven’t tried it abroad, but I’m looking to do that in our next trip to Europe.

  3. konorth

    I had the same problem in Santiago, Chile.The GPS pin kept changing, then the pick up time went from from six to eight to ten to six to seven etc until I gave up. The concierge at the hotel verified while I waited and then the Uber driver canceled on me yet I still got charged a cancelation fee. I tweeted the unfairness and asked for Uber to help. To Ubers credit, I quickly received a DM with invite to email the facts. I received an apology and a credit for the erroneous charges quite quickly after they reviewed. As Uber communicates via text it was easy to send copies. I was very happy with their followup.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      I’m glad they solved it for you. I had one that was solved that was and one that went round and round.

  4. TravelDean

    I have learned to call the driver right after my request is accepted and telling them where I am and what clothes I am wearing. Often times the driver calls me right after accepting. Love uber vs cabs!

  5. Brian N

    The Uber pin is sadly as accurate as the phone GPS lets it be. I have had to move it more than once, mostly in America. I specifically moved it to a point where I was standing in Silver Spring, MD and the driver could not figure out how to get to me or for some reason sucks at reading maps. I saw him circling the block over, stopping for 2 minutes, and restarting. He did not respond to my texts so I cancelled and re submitted. I was dinged the $5 but an email explaining the situation got me a $5 credit within like a day. I used that credit on the same weekend in DC. In the end I had to walk a block over and flag him down. It was annoying, but to get from there to the Fairmont DC it was so cheap and easy as to be totally worth standing and talking to my friends for an extra 15 minutes 🙂

    No problems in Paris or Zurich, which were the first 2 times I used Uber, other than at 2 AM on New Years Day in the Zurich area, it is impossible to get an Uber. I was ready to pay the super surge price and everything. No dice. I got to the hotel by 3-3:30ish.

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