I was just reading about Uber Black in Manila when I chanced upon a tweet saying that Uber has arrived in Riyadh. I was intrigued.
Uber is a mobile app that allows you to reserve a private driver that drives a sleek, executive-style car. Let’s make something straight though: Uber is the technology that connects people to licensed drivers through registered partners. It’s not the car company. The company that provides their luxe cars are based in Riyadh and is their partner in bringing this service to the Kingdom’s capital. Founded in 2009, Uber is now serving 70 cities and is rapidly expanding its global presence. To me, it’s the answer to our transportation woes in Riyadh, especially for us women.
As I’ve said in my reviews of two taxi apps now operating in Riyadh, this city is a unique market when it comes to transportation. Women can’t drive and we can’t depend on regular taxi cabs either. So we are always waiting for our fathers or husbands to drive us around town and you know how tricky that is. We have to appeal to them and pray that they are in a good mood to drive us. So finally having enough transportation options is great!
The Pink Tarha ladies mainly use the limo service of our workplace. (I have long graduated from depending on my dad to drive me; that only worked three years ago when I was fairly “new.” Now he says I’m seasoned and I can navigate my way already. Haha!) We already know our drivers and we can trust them. However, being a service of a huge workplace, our trusted drivers are also the go-to drivers of others. Most often than not, they’re no longer available when we call them because they have a customer or they’re too far away and stuck in traffic. Thus the need for options, options, options!
|Ladies and gentlemen, Uber has arrived.|
Uber Riyadh’s arrival in the city is timely. Who doesn’t want to have his/her own “private driver” driving a fancy car? But this time, you have everyone’s private driver! It suits the passenger with a good taste. So here’s how the app works:
1. Download the Uber app on your mobile phone.
2. Sign up with your name, mobile number, email address, language you wish to use, and billing information. Yes, you need to have a valid credit card to use Uber. This is the only mode of payment they have now.
3. Read the terms and conditions and click Sign Up!
I tried the Uber service one day to go home. I wish I had a fancy event to go to but during that time, there wasn’t and I couldn’t wait to use the Uber app so I can share the experience with you already so I said to myself, “Well, I would just have to go home in style then!”
The Uber is app is nice and very professional-looking. The app immediately pointed out my location (which is a street away btw). I clicked on the car button and it immediately requested a car for me. Then it confirmed that a driver is already en route.
|Finding and found!|
Look at that cute black car button! So cute and appropriate. I can see it moving in the map so I know exactly where the driver, whose name, details, and picture appear in the page, is. It also tells me how many minutes the driver will arrive in my location. Because Uber Riyadh is just in its soft launch, it only has 10 cars as of the moment. They will eventually roll in more when they launch formally soon.
|The Uber has a very cute car icon… and a cool option to share fare!|
One of the features of the Uber app is the “Split Fare” which you can opt for if you’re going out with a friend and you’re picking him/her up in his/her place. I haven’t tried that feature so I’ll update next time.
The driver was a few minutes late but maybe that’s because of the wrong location that the GPS provided. (You can drag the pin to your correct location, which I didn’t do because I was such a noob, haha!) I called the driver and he was friendly enough to accommodate my directions. It didn’t arrive in a GMC Yukon too. But it did arrive in a GMC Denali which is great! The car was clean and nice. And off to the house I go.
|This is my taxi?!? O.O|
Because this is my first ride, I was able to use a coupon (UberRiyadh) for a SR100 worth of ride so I got this trip for free. It made me wish I went to somewhere father away. Haha! I received my receipt via email. It cost me SR 27. Pretty much affordable if I compare it to the SR 20 I pay on a regular taxi (which I only use when push comes to shove) and the SR 25 I pay on my trusted limo service. What’s SR 2 if it guarantees a safe and comfortable ride? Also, they’ll be ushering in add-on services that will make your ride feel really luxe (fancy dates and water anyone?).
|Driving in style!|
The base fare is currently at SR 9 and an additional SR 0.75 per minute and/or SR 1.75 per kilometer. No idea if this was in effect already when I tried Uber because it said in their blog that a promotional rate is currently going on (15% off standard price). There is a fee of SR 20 if you cancel your car request after 5 minutes.
Now here’s some good news for you, Riyadhizens! The Pink Tarha has been given a special promo code that will entitle you to a SR80 discount on each of your first two rides using Uber! Just download Uber in your iOS or Android phone, sign up, and go to promotions. Enter ThePinkTarha and your first two rides in Uber will be free (provided you don’t go over the SR 80 limit of course!). This promo code applies to new users only so SIGN UP NOW! Easy eh?
|PROMO CODE: ThePinkTarha|
Enjoy Uber and share your experience to us! ~ Sundrenched