The Deal Mommy

True Deal Mommy Confession: I think Uber is Creepy

Update: Mike asked in the comments what I was afraid of. I answer him here with a story of my worst taxi ride.

I know SO many of you love Uber: exhibit A of the new sharing economy. And I know I’m REALLY late to the party here. But I’m here to confess: I’ve never Ubered. Or Lyfted. Not even when they gave away free manicures or ice cream. I just find Uber, well…creepy.

Yes I’ve been in taxis that weren’t bastions of safety and cleanliness but at least I felt like there was some governmental body I could call if things really went south. With Uber, it just feels like driving without a net.

Here’s the final straw: I asked a fellow family travel blogger for a car service referral from Mexico City airport as I’m traveling with Deal Girl and our flight gets in really late. She recommended, you guessed it, Uber.

So I’m turning this one over to you: if you’re an Uber lover, why? 

And if you’re a closet hater, feel free to share that too…you’re in a safe space.

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network.


33 thoughts on “True Deal Mommy Confession: I think Uber is Creepy

  1. wj2

    Agree – we are a married couple and see some creepiness to it due to us both thinking who the hell is it we’re getting in the car with. We have discussed that we would never consider Uber from our house, especially if going to the airport. Now you’ve just informed a total stranger you are going out of town.

    We recently had an Uber driver while traveling who asked us enough suspicious questions that we ended up lying to him to avoid giving him TMI. Probably harmless and just conversation on his part, but who knows.

      1. Wj2

        Yeah, sure I would Uber again but within a large metro city and probably not if alone. We head to Vegas in a few days and plan to use them.

  2. Brandi

    We have used Uber several times in Phila, DC, and just last night in Miami. It’s been a mixed bag of experiences. All times have been with my husband, we both agreed I would never use it when alone with the kids. Out of my safety comfort zone, but might not be for someone else. The main benefits for us are price and convenience. I like that you know the cost upfront and no tipping.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Good point. Maybe I’ll try it when it’s just me and Deal Dad (if that ever happens!) or the entire family.

      1. thedealmommy Post author

        Yea, I think that’s part of the value prop- service included, or at least on your credit card and not at point of sale. Readers?

  3. Debbie

    I use it- it’s so easy and I find the cars and drivers to be so much more reliable and clean than Red Top. Lots of cabs in DC won’t take you VA either. Try Uber Black- it’s pricey, but they are town cars.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Ah, so Uber Black is more of a traditional service where they don’t use their own cars? It’s the getting into some rando that creeps me out.

  4. AMJ

    I find it pretty creepy too. We had a couple of very sketchy drivers in Orlando, as well as a scammish situation that really turned me off of Uber. I don’t think I’ll ever use Uber in Orlando again.

    That said, we had a really good Uber experience when we were in Maui over the summer. I’ve also had a couple of good experiences locally in Austin, but we have several drivers based in our neighborhood so it’s like getting a ride from a neighbor.

    1. Pam

      As a resident of Orlando I can tell you there are lots of really skeezy taxi drivers here too. 95% of my rides have been terrible. I’m what’s called a short trip (less than 4 miles) and the drivers get incredibly nasty when they find out their place in line at MCO was just wasted on a 4 mile trip. One so nasty to the point that he pulled all my luggage out of his cab and threw it on the pavement and refused to drive me.

      I’ve never tried Uber here but it can’t be any worse than the taxi service.

      1. AMJ

        One of the Uber drivers that freaked me out in Orlando was a guy that stared yelling at me on the phone before he even picked me up. I ended up just hanging up on him and canceling the pickup.

        I had another strange situation in Orlando where a women who was driving a Dodge Caravan kept getting further away from us after requesting a pickup and suddenly didn’t have room for my family of four in her minivan. She asked me to cancel the ride (it was more than 5 minutes after the pickup was requested) and I naively agreed to do so. Later, I found out that I was charged $5 for cancelling. It took several emails, but Uber finally refunded me (they wanted to just give me a credit). That entire experience just seemed so sketchy to me that we stopped using Uber in Orlando and went back to Yellow Cabs.

  5. Erik

    We used it in town during a festival when there was about eight hours to kill between events and didn’t want to lose a primo parking spot (because we knew the kids would be tired for a long walk to the car at the end of the day). Anyways we used UberX to go to/from a museum located about a mile+ away. The experience was good, both cars and drivers were very nice. Later on, I was thinking about Uber and we may not have been legal. Many states exempt taxis from booster seat laws but since Uber uses private cars, I would guess the exemption doesn’t apply. If you’re worried about safety, I’d second the suggestion for Uber Black. They are licensed private car services (typically Lincoln black cars) that are just making extra money between customers.. It might be worth carrying a Bubble Bum if you’re using Uber with a booster-aged kid.

  6. Jessica

    I use Uber a lot and have mixed feelings about it. It’s fine when I am with my husband and I have no issues when we take an Uber together. In fact, we much prefer it. Like someone mentioned above, we would never Uber from our house because we are just weird like that but we love it when we travel. It is cheaper and friendly most of the time.

    However, when I am alone, I feel the creep factor. It just feels like your getting into a stranger’s car, which your are, and we’ve been taught our entire lives not to do that. I think that is why it feels creepy. The other night, I took an Uber for the first time by myself late at night and decided that I would not do that again. The driver was perfectly nice and everything was fine but it just felt too risky.

    I will continue to use Uber with my husband day or night but only during the day when I am travelling alone. I definitely would not take an Uber with my daughter in a foreign country late at night particularly if I did not speak the native language or if I wasn’t familiar with my surroundings. I am sure everything would be fine, it is just out of my comfort zone.

  7. April

    I had to get over the creepy factor this summer when I was desperate for a cab in a hurry and yellow cab wasn’t available. I liked it that I could see exactly how far each uber driver was from my house and select the one I wanted, and also that there were photos of the driver and info on the make/model of the car. Not that it matters what they look like or what they drive, but it definitely took away the anonymous stranger feelings seeing that they were legitimately in Uber’s system. Ditto what others said above about easy payment. I was so happy with them that I wouldn’t bother with yellow cab again.

  8. Mike

    Always interesting to see the perspective of different people. I’ve never really understood the concerns about Uber. The initial post didn’t really give any reasons for not liking Uber, other than…it feels creepy? I can’t answer this for other people, but do you think your fears are actually rational? What do you think is going to happen? Are you really worried that the uber driver, whose info you have on your phone and Uber has, is going to take you to a dark alley and sexually assault or rob you? Of course you can find stories on google of problems with Uber drivers, as well as regular taxi drivers, but still I’m surprised when I hear so many people unwilling to use it. I don’t know that a government agency issuing taxi licenses is going to make a regular taxi so much safer or provide better or easier recourse in the event of an issue.
    I’ve ordered a car from Uber various times for my wife or wife/son. But we live in a country where taxis aren’t required to be licensed, so taking a taxi off the street can iterally be getting into a random person’s car. So I would say Uber is safer in our case. And maybe because I’m used to unregulated anonymous taxis, Uber never concerned me.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Mike,
      I think it’s partly the unmarked car aspect. As another commenter said, we have (as girls, especially) “never get into a stranger’s car” drilled into our heads. Uber throws all the traditional rules out the window.

      1. Mike

        Right – its drilled into your head, but is it actually a legit concern in this case? It’s not a random car off the street – you and uber have the driver’s info. Is there some factual data to show Uber is more dangerous than a taxi? Even if you get into a marked taxi on the street, does that mean the driver is not a psycho? How do you know the taxi isn’t stolen? Of course you have to do what you’re comfortable with. But I always like to question my assumptions & why I think a certain way and determine if its rational or not.

  9. MickiSue

    We’ve only used Uber once, from our house to the airport. My first impression wasn’t great. It was very early in the morning, very cold January weather, and the guy parks in the street. I had to walk down the driveway to ask him to pull up into the driveway, where he did NOT get out and help us with our luggage.

    As we went to the airport, we chatted about how our son would be coming over a couple times a day to feed the cat…maybe that helped?

    My impression wasn’t so much creepy as unprofessional. But then, I lived in the era of of hitchhiking to the U every morning. I figured that the rapists wouldn’t be out at 7:30 in the morning, heading onto I94.

  10. Tim

    We just used Uber for the 1st time this week and we used it in Mexico City. Our AirBnB host recommended them. It was a great experience. The Uber app told us who was showing up and provided a play-by-play of where the car was when in route to pick us up. The driver didn’t speak English but we were easily able to communicate our destination via the app. Unfortunately, we assumed we were using some of the credits we had on our account and only learned after the ride that the credits only work in the US. I would happily use the service again…

  11. Amy b

    I used uber my first time alone in downtown Pittsburgh, and I kid you not I got a female driver on her first day of work! I think we were both ridiculously relieved to meet at that moment. We had a great conversation about how she totally disrupted my assumptions, and I asked if SHE felt safe. She said she definitely had reservations, but decided to try it because her job as a social worker wasn’t enough income right now. I was sad I could not tip, and that ride stuck with me. We ladies do have to be careful, but we also deserve an equal shake at opportunity, and I agree with the other comments about über’s system: no one is anonymous, so perhaps both sides are safer.

  12. Trellis

    If you have never Ubered ever before I probably think that you have not researched it. What an Uber driver has to go through before he or she can be an Uber driver, so they really are on the safety side of the equation here . I had to go through a background check and it was a pretty in depth one at that at least you know who your driver is and have a picture of him or her.
    Also a picture of the car. No doubt, some people are out of their comfort zone, and that’s ok. I hope this comment helps you to give Uber a chance!

  13. Steve

    I can understand how you can be freaked out by any random stranger picking you up. Let me echo some thoughts from other posters:

    1) If you lost your cell phone in an official taxi, do you write down the cab number everytime you enter take them? Do you have the phone number of the official cab? Do you have the license plate number? With Uber, I automatically have most of the above, on every ride.

    2) When you take an official taxi and have a bad experience how many times do you take the time to report this to the cab company? How many times to you ask for the reputation of official cab drivers before getting in? Which Uber, it is simple, easy and fast to provide feedback for every ride. This feedback is available before getting into any ride, so if a driver has 0, 1 or 2 stars, they will likely quickly leave the service and if someone takes one of those drivers, the they made a mistake.

    I take both official taxis, unofficial taxis, Uber and other ride sharing services to I think they all have their uses.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      All valid points. I love that you and others are sharing their experiences- it’s definitely helpful both to me and to others who have the same questions.

  14. Rachel

    From the Uber app, you can share your ETA with a non traveling buddy. It sends a live map of your route along with the driver’s name and the car’s make, model, and license plate.

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