San Francisco is a contradictory city: Getting around sometimes is easier on foot or bike than by car. Forget about driving and parking – spots are impossible to find. You can always get a cab, you would think. Another impossible thing to find. And if you are stranded in a party somewhere a bit farther away or up some hills and try to call a taxi, good luck. Maybe you should ask your host for a sleeping bag and crash somewhere until the sun rises. Then you may walk back home.
But if you have a smart phone, SMS or Web access, you may be able to enjoy your own on-demand private driver. Ubercab is a service that uses an iPhone app to give you instant access to a network of professional town car and limo drivers that cost about $5-$10 more than a usual taxi trip. A Google Maps interface allows you to pinpoint the pick-up spot using your phone’s built-in GPS, also sending you an accurate estimated time of arrival and an arrival alert. You can even track your ride’s progress via the map.
Another timesaver is the fact that UberCab keeps your credit card on file and charges it on the end or your trip – no need to sign anything or tip anyone. In order to keep the fleet shipshape, the application also allows you to rate your ride based on five-star ratings, meaning if the driver does not know the city well or does not provide good customer service, he might be dropped from the network.
Ubercab is based in the Bay Area and is currently operating in limited beta and only available in San Francisco. They have plans to expand the service to other cities by the end of the year.