I just used Uber for the first time today in Bali. Uber have already been operating for a while now in Jakarta and southern Bali, but it is the first time I had a chance to give them a try. The sign up process is very simple. You do however need to supply your credit card details for payment. I couldn’t see any other payment options.
As soon as I booked the car, I got a message saying it would be there in 5 minutes. You can even see the car approaching on a map in the app. You get a message with the registration plate of the car, as well as the make and model. You can also see a picture of the driver, so it is pretty easy to identify the car as it pulls up.
Since you have already entered your destination, the driver knows exactly where to go. The fare is calculated automatically. The base fare is 7,000 rupiah and 400 rupiah per minute or 2,200 rupiah a kilometer and is apparently calculated in a similar way taxis calculate their fare. I think the fare was equivalent to what you would pay in a regular blue bird taxi.
I used Uber again for the return trip. When I booked it the estimated arrival time was 9 minutes, so I thought I would have time to buy something quickly. The driver arrived early and started calling me while I was still in the store. We got picked up from Bali Galeria shopping mall and I was wondering how would we find the driver, but again it was easy to recognize the driver from the picture.
Overall the experience was positive. The drivers weren’t too chatty but that didn’t bother me. As I said the price is probably equivalent to what you would pay in a taxi, but since you don’t have to worry about handing over cash, you don’t have to worry about getting change. I don’t know about the etiquette of tipping using Uber, but it feels like there is less pressure to do so, since there is no cash exchange.
The cars used were Toyota Avanza, so more roomy than regular taxis, which is good for us since we sometimes carry a pram that just barely fits into the back of a Bluebird taxi.
I have seen many passionate arguments for and against Uber. I love the technology aspect and I can’t help thinking it has to be a better system for drivers, although there are plenty who wouldn’t agree. I know some people don’t want to support a foreign company. There is a Indonesian company “Gojek” which uses a similar model, but just for motorbike taxis. I am pretty sure it won’t be long before an Indonesian company creates a similar service.
If you have tried Uber, share your experience in the comments.
Update: Here are the pricing details from the email they send you after each trip:
Car Rental: 7.000
Trip Time: 00:26:33
Distance: 8.14 km