He also saw and heard some things he'll never forget For the first time this week, I’m angry. Maybe it’s all that burnt drive-through coffee I’ve been drinking. But my patience is wearing thin—as thin as the fabric barely concealing this girl’s crotch. The fare is calculated by some algorithm of distance and time. Since Uber’s very first ride in May 2010, it has attracted a crazily eclectic clientele, ranging from Wall Street expense-account jockeys to comedian Louis C.It’s after midnight when four drunk millennials climb into my car. K., who recently told a story on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series about using Uber to facilitate a stoned adventure to a 3-D IMAX theater. One of the guys sighs audibly—it’s a bar here in Los Angeles, apparently; Silver Lake, to be precise—and then he barks: Turn around and take a left on Sunset. Just for the record, I have been waiting in this brat’s driveway for fifteen minutes while he (I’m just guessing here) stared at himself in the mirror and (again, just guessing here) debated exactly how many rope bracelets still qualifies as I won’t notice the pimp cup he and his friends are sipping from until they get out of the car, which is probably a good thing—I’m a bit of a neat freak, and I’ve never enjoyed so much as a Nutri-Grain bar inside my car. For the past week, I’ve turned my 2013 Prius (fuck yeah) into a taxicab, driving nights for uber X, the low-cost arm of the ride-on-demand company Uber, which, if you live in a major American city, either has already transformed how you get around town or will within the next few years.Late last year, a snapshot of what appeared to be Uber’s financials was leaked to the website Valleywag, and though Uber declined to confirm the numbers, they told the story of a company in mid-boom.My cabbie-for-a-week experiment wasn’t pre-sanctioned by Uber.I signed up online like every other prospective driver, a relatively painless process involving a background check and an online tutorial.The company’s reported valuation: .7 billion dollars.
One night I picked up two very sober, very intelligent doctors.)If there’s one thing these fares all had in common, it was the need to escape: a bad party, Mom’s house, a too crowded post-concert clusterfuck. This surely protects limo drivers, who’ve invested in medallions. Says Kalanick: I’m spending a lot of time with city officials in Miami when I would much rather be at the Shore Club. (Those are swanky boutique hotels in South Beach, by the way.My Uber phone was equipped with a heat map, which shows drivers where the company’s most active customers are currently located. We made eye contact in the rearview more times than could be called accidental, and when I pulled up to the lobby, I thought for a moment that he was going to ask me in. Did you know that you can beat a Breathalyzer by putting pennies in your mouth? It’s not true.) Or that drug dealers sometimes cut cocaine with Tide?Staring at the heat map is like being connected to the Matrix; you can see where shit is going down. Or that some doctors think Augmentin is the best antibiotic for women who’ve just had a C-section? Uber’s nearly vertical growth hasn’t been seamless. C., Denver, and Dallas, it’s turned its energies toward a bitter war with taxicab owners and county commissioners in Miami, where Uber is currently illegal.Though I did wonder what kind of fool would climb into a stranger’s car. But first I have to drop off Rope Bracelets and his drunk ladies at da club.Even more worrisome question: What naive idiot would invite a stranger into his car? Listen in as he moderates a C-SPAN-worthy debate on the definition of Uber capitalizes on what economists refer to as slack resources or underutilized capacity.But man, I’m really not happy that an internal crisis-management e-mail got sent to the journalist.