By Erica Horoky – Photo Editor
How does it work?
By downloading the Uber app on your smartphone, you can pin your location and request a pick-up. You can select your destination in the app, or you can let your driver know where you would like to go when you’re picked up.
Within minutes you willbe connected with a driver and you’ll receive their name, vehicle type, contact information, and rating. From the map on the app, you can watch their vehicle make its way to your location in real-time, and you’re able to call the driver (and vice-versa) if necessary.
How do I pay?
Until August 7th, you can enjoy free Uber rides in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Flint by using the promotion code “MICHFREE.” Enter the code under “promotions” in the app, or text MICHFREE to 827-222. This offer is good for up to five rides, which is up to $25 off per trip.
After the promotion, the base fare of an UberX ride is $2.80, plus $1.60 per mile. For example, a ride from downtown Grand Rapids to the Grand Rapids International Airport would cost $29.
Paying is simple – by entering your payment type through the app, the cost of the ride is automatically deducted from your account after your ride is finished, so you don’t need to worry about fumbling with a payment once your ride is over.
What can I expect?
I tested the Uber experience twice in Grand Rapids, and both times I was picked up within five minutes of pinning my location. When I used Uber in Chicago, it took around 10 minutes to be picked up.
Overall it was a quick and simple process, and much less frustrating than flagging down a cab.
The idea of being picked up by a stranger can be off-putting for some, but Uber does extensive background checks on driving records and has strict vehicle guidelines. Drivers are hired by Uber and arepaid an hourly wage, even when you’re using your free promotion. The service has been growing rapidly since it was released, and the people of Grand Rapids seem to be catching on quickly.
For more information and career opportunities, visit www.uber.com.