My favorite mode of transportation is my feet. Weather and distance permitting, I’ll opt for my feet. When the weather is nice, I’ll routinely walk to and from my part time jobs (on weekends, at any rate — three miles downhill to, three miles uphill from).
Bike would be here, except, I’m pretty much terrified to bike in the city. I do have a Bikeshare membership … which I never utilize. Those car drivers scare the shit out of me!
Car would be here, except, I don’t own one. I’ve owned four. An Acura Legend. A Jeep Wrangler. A Toyota Celica. A Toyota Matrix, which I sold to my dad, and which I still occasionally get to borrow for periods of time. But even when I borrow it for extended periods of time, man, I hate driving into the city.
After my feet my favorite mode of transportation is the bus. The NextBus app makes waiting for them much easier, and I’m pretty well familiar with a few key routes, and not quite so familiar with some more connecting routes, and every now and then I’m on a route where I’m crossing my fingers and my heart that I hope I know where I’m going. Bus is, after walking, probably the cheapest way to get around the city (especially with the free transfers for SmarTrip users).
After bus, my favorite mode of transportation is the Metro itself. I tend to travel off peak, and usually do my best to avoid the system during rush hour, and weekends. Fortunately, since I do live in the city, this is hardly a killer proposition. There’s really not many places I’d want to go that can’t be reached with judicious use of a bus, coupled with a short walk. But to get out to the ‘burbs, like to my day job, the Metro’s a necessity.
After Metro, my favorite mode of transportation is a taxicab. When I say “favorite”, at the point, look: I’m using the word wrong, m’kay? It’s not my favorite mode of transportation. At all. But sometimes I need to lug some cats to and from the vets, or sometimes I need to just get home really quickly after working at my part-time job, or I just don’t feel like walking from the Metro to my apartment. Due to the expense, about $10 to $11 (fare plus a tip), I don’t do this often. I consider a cab ride a treat. Not always a good one: hard to read in a cab, especially at night. Public transportation is great reading time!
Because it is. It’s a treat. Cabs are not necessary to get around the city. Obviously, I speak only for myself, and my situation is not the same as I’m sure most people who regularly grab taxis, but I’d generally rather wait at a bus stop for fifteen minutes, knowing I’ll have to make a transfer, but get home only having spent a $1.50 than a whole hour’s worth of wages from my part-time job.
So tonight, for the first time, I called an Uber ride. Uber is a car service called from an app on your smart phone. It’s pretty easy to use. I’d registered last night from my (brand new) laptop, so I just logged-in, moved a pin to show the Uber driver where I’d be waiting, and got a notification that I had about a four minute wait.
I didn’t actually wait four minutes, he was there in about two, in a big, black sedan. I gave him my destination, and we were off. And then we got delayed by a motorcade running up Connecticut Avenue, but that didn’t take too long and we debated who it was. I don’t think it was Obama, since there was no ambulance with the procession. He didn’t think it was Biden, because it was running up Connecticut and not Massachusetts.
So. My receipt came in my email. My fee worked out to about $20 (with half off for the promotion, I paid just under ten bucks). The car was nice. The driver was friendly. There was even complimentary water. But I passed up several cabs waiting for the Uber. The ride was no faster than a cab would have been, and the driver was friendly, but honestly, I usually get cab drivers who tend to be on the friendlier side of things. Bottom line? Good service, but it doesn’t offer anything to me beyond cabs, and if a regular cab rate is pushing what I can afford, this is just …
… out of my budget.
I can see using Uber if I’m on my way to a job interview and don’t want to risk my suit carrying an scent of cab or bus odor, or just want to make sure I’m hedging my bets against traffic accidents or what have you, but for most occasions, I’ll be skipping.