With news that Egypt’s taxi drivers have called for a protest against the super awesome find a ride app, Uber, the worldwide debate over taxi drivers vs Uber has reached our country two years after the app premiered. Uber, which stole social media headlines today with its drastic rebranding
, has faced adamant opposition in parts of the world from taxi drivers that believe the service isn’t playing fair and encroaching on their rights. For us, it’s pretty clear that taxi drivers are just pissed, as they’ve been beaten at a game they’ve been the only players in for, like, ever. This got us thinking about the clear advantages that the sleek, futuristic app has over boring old cabs.
Know Where You're Going
Trying to explain to a cab driver where you’re trying to go can be a crap shoot. Since none of them seem to have a basic understanding of the city's layout, trying to get somewhere that isn’t a major landmark is a wee bit difficult. Also, you may be the kind of person who can't find their way out of a paper bag, let alone to some obscure midan in Mohandiseen. With Uber you have all the power of Google Maps backing you up. Basically just set your destination and forget about it.
You’ll Never Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the Back of an Uber
The high standards of an international superstar like Uber means that the cars are often of a much higher caliber than the average black and white taxi. So many taxis I’ve ridden in clearly have a compromised exhaust system. The whole thing must be held together by spit and shawerma wrappers, pumping exhaust into the backseat, presumably so the sketchy driver can rob your unconscious body. These standards also mean you’ll never have to deal with a ride whose engine stalls out in the middle of the Ring Road or door handles that come off when you try to use them.
They Teach Male Drivers How Not To Sexually Harass Women
Its awful that this even has to be an issue but, a huge subset of the male Egyptian population is abominably creepy. The idea of a woman stuck in car with a strange Egyptian man is enough to make my skin crawl. Fortunately, Uber is taking steps to educate their drivers
on what is and is definitely NOT OK behavior when it comes to interacting with women. I know it’s just a sticker in an Uber’s window, but it certainly does a lot for peace of mind, which is much more than can be said about the majority of spooky taxis I see driving around.
A Complete Lack Of Sketchballs
A beautiful thing about Uber is that they vet every single one of the drivers and vehicles they employ. Couple that with their driver ratings and comment system, which essentially is a built-in deterrent against creepazoids. Plain old 20th century taxis however, have almost no recourse for a crappy cab ride. Who are you going to complain to? If you left something inside your cab, you better hope the driver is a saint or you can just kiss your misplaced things goodbye. This also means that if your driver is a total d-bag that you can give him an appropriate rating on the app.
Never Get Ripped Off
Especially for white foreigners like myself, getting in a taxi is a roulette game. The guy could have his (untampered with) meter on and take the best route, avoiding backtracking and traffic. Or, he could tell you his meter isn’t working and go out of his way to hit traffic and take the scenic route from Dokki to Maadi by way of the 26th of July bridge, racking up pounds the whole way. With Uber you get a really good idea of how much you're gonna be spending, before you even order your ride with their handy fare estimate button, even during a surge.
Being stuck in a stranger’s car for a long period of time can be a little awkward. If your driver is blaring Shaabi music and you’re not exactly ‘in the mood’ it can be a bit awkward asking them to turn it off. With Uber I find that more often than not, the driver asks me what I want to listen to. Even if Black Sabbath isn’t an option, it’s still a nice touch.
Never Saying No
Waiting for a cab can be tedious. When a cab finally pulls up, there is always a risk, that when you tell him your destination he could just be like ‘la2a’ and drive away, leaving you there, waiting for someone else, just like your ex from high school. With Uber you don’t ever have to be jilted like that again. Literally seconds after you open the app a committed, responsible, and punctual driver is on their way to you.
Going back to the whole ratings business. Uber drivers make their living by what people say about the experience people have in their vehicles. So keeping it clean and free of mystery crusts and stains is imperative. I swear, one Uber driver even had a little candy dish in the back seat.
Getting Home After a Night Out
After a long evening of indulgence, finding your way home might be a little tricky. Wobbling on the curb with audible hiccups and crossed eyes will probably make most taxis just keep on driving. Ubers though don’t have such qualms. As long as you don’t turn their backseat into a vomitorium they could care less what Taylor Swift song you and your friends belt out while he drives you halfway across the city.
Don’t Talk to Me
Riding in a cab usually leads to some awkward conversation about something or other. No matter how much you try to avoid it, there’s really not anywhere you can go. A stark comparison to the usually stern silence of Uber drivers who aren’t really interested in talking unless you make the first move.
Uber teams up with all sorts of awesome organizations to pull off awesome stunts, like Uber Puppies
. Teaming up with ESMA, the best damn ride service became a best friend delivery service too. They brought people pups and let them hang out for a while with the option to adopt them right on the spot. If you find a dog in a cab, it’s much weirder and could be kind of sad.