The Uber Designated Driver

I’ve been itching to try out Uber ever since I installed the app. Our recent visit to San Diego presented us with the perfect opportunity – use Uber as the designated driver while we checked out Sand Diego’s craft beer scene. By the way, setting up Uber was easy. I just followed the steps which included adding my credit card info for payment.

Here’s how our first use of Uber went and our impressions.

We were staying at a downtown San Diego hotel and wanted to go to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station about 6.5 miles one-way. After opening the app we saw the following screen.

Uber Pickup Request

Uber Pickup Request










Before setting our location we noticed a number of Uber options at the bottom. These options refer to the type of service available. We figured that we should begin here. We chose UberX which features 4 passenger sedans and is the least expensive service. Then we set our location. The app gave us two fare estimates –one for sharing a ride and another for not sharing the ride. We selected “not sharing” (the fare was slightly higher). The app then displayed a message “requesting service”. After a few moments we received information about the driver who accepted our request. We saw his photo, rating, type of car and license plate number. The message at the top now said “driver en route”. Our wait was under a minute because there are a lot of Uber drivers in downtown San Diego. In fact, one of the neat things about the app is that it displays little images of Uber cars as they drive around the area so you can watch your car’s approach. The driver arrived and took us to our destination. No money exchanged hands because our credit card was automatically charged. Even though tipping is not necessary, we gave our driver a small tip (which he said was not expected) because I read that it is a good way to receive a high rating from your driver (after each trip drivers and passengers are given the opportunity to rate each other).

Our return did not go as smoothly. The first driver who accepted almost immediately sent a message asking us to call him. He said that it would not be economical for him to drive us, to cancel our request and then to submit a new request. I have to wonder why he accepted our request in the first place. Our second request was accepted and we were able to see the little image of his car approach us (including turns on a map and an estimated number of minutes to arrival). Even though we weren’t standing at a street corner or in front of a business, he was able to find us with GPS. When we got to our hotel all we had to do was say thanks. The transaction happened automatically in the background.

Here’s what I especially liked about our Uber experience.

  • Ability to see the fare in advance before selecting
  • Watching the car’s approach and estimated arrival time
  • Receiving info on the driver in advance
  • Not having any money exchange hands
  • No tip expected or required

I feel that I still need to become more proficient with the app (there is a learning curve). I was checking it out to help me write this post and I unintentionally requested a ride without entering a destination or agreeing to a fare. Yikes!

Even so I am a fan and will not hesitate to use Uber again. It’s an excellent designated driver!

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