A couple of weeks ago I was in Dallas for the annual National Cheerleader’s Association (NCA) event. It’s crazy busy with cheerleaders, all the hotels get booked up and getting parking at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson center is just a mess. So a fellow cheer mom (my roomy for the weekend) and I decided we would play it smart and use Uber, Lyft & UZURV to get around. My roomy had never used a rideshare service so this was going to be new for her.
I actually debated calling this post “the good, the bad & the ugly” but maybe that’s a bit over the top. I know what drivers have to go thru . . .
Before even going I decided to reserve my Friday morning and Saturday morning drivers via UZURV. I did this because us moms had to leave the hotel at the same as the buses to meet them at the convention center on time since one of our kids was not quite old enough to roam the place alone. And since I’m not familiar with how many drivers are generally around / available at 8 am I want
ed to be sure we were picked up on time.
Friday morning arrived – great! Our UZURV reservation was with driver James (via Lyft). He was on time and happily took us through the nearby Starbucks drive through (although he said Whataburger had the best coffee). We had a great conversation all the way downtown and I gave him 5 stars and an additional $5 tip (he was given a $3 incentive via UZURV when I placed the reservation).
When we were done for the day at Kay Bailey, us moms ordered an Uber. We knew we were at a busy spot so I took the time to call and tell her exactly where we were with street names so she would have an easier time getting to us. She should have been there within 3 minutes… pretty soon I get a call that she is there but doesn’t see us… uh, not. So I had to tell her again where we were and then she emerged from a sea of cars. This should have been a clue.
We got in and she confirmed our address and took off. She told us that she had been driving for over a year and was a long time resident of Dallas. Great – she should know her way around. But she ended up circling the general arena area twice before I finally got out my Waze and gave her directions. So much for knowing the area and being experienced. This does not take into account the messy car interior… So I gave her a low rating and no tip. *sigh*
Saturday morning we had reserved a different driver (James wasn’t available) in advance for 8am. When we were ready (the kids were loading on the buses) I sent a follow up message via the app to let her know that if she was early it would be okay, we were ready. I always appreciate knowing my fare is ready and when working with a reservation locally I am usually about 5 minutes early. Get the ride over and on to the next.
So imagine my surprise when she texted back that she was at the airport 20 minutes away and invited me to cancel the reservation. Unfortunately that would have resulted in me being charged a cancellation fee. The driver and I exchanged messages for at least 15 minutes, all the while she says she is on the way but my roomy and I were feeling increasingly uneasy about riding with someone who clearly didn’t want to pick us up.
I’ve heard from my personal UZURV reservation customers about other drivers who just don’t seem to care and drop the ball leaving them stranded – now I’d experienced it first hand. Not a great feeling.
At the last minute we opted to ping a random driver. We got Bennie via Lyft. Again an awesome experience. And even though our normal exit was closed (he explained that Dallas does that when there are large events) we didn’t mind the extra time or expense. He made the ride fun and memorable. Another 5 stars and $5 tip.
Also, Bennie said he does this full time and makes an average of $1800 a week. Wow. That’s the difference between Dallas and Wichita – we can’t even get that in a month.
Both Lyft drivers were personable, knew the city, and made the rides fun. The UZURV system only worked literally once out of 2 reservations (maybe they should have better mentoring – I’ve actually said this locally). And the Uber driver – well those horror stories about drivers taking the long way, getting lost . . . apparently they are true.
But I’ll also say when I’ve used Uber in Ft. Worth on previous occasions it’s been a good experience – and we all know not everyone on Uber is that bad.
In closing: shout out to James & Bennie – Thanks a bunch guys!
And that’s my view from the passenger seat.