Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hitch hiking with the American Express card

Today I post about Uber. This is an intriguing phenomenon. It can be considered a major disruption. Whereas the internal combustion engine automobile was a major disruption in public conveyence so is the development of the Uber ride. I remember when I first heard of it I thought "no way is that going to last". Somewhere along the way a piece of legislation or a new regulation is going to shut that puppy down. Not so. It is more popular than ever and the company is a $10 billion dollar success story. The taxicab industry has been relegated to the back seat and are barely casting a shadow anymore.

I remember back about 25 years ago. I had a day meeting in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. That is about 20  miles from O'hare airport. I flew out of Tallahassee into O'hare. Got in by 9:00 AM CST and hailed a cab. As I got in I said Hoffman Estates and I noticed a smile from the driver. I then immediately said " How Much ?" The answer: $ 75.00 ONE WAY. I then said " Pull over." I go to the National rental car desk where I was a member of the Emerald club. Do you have a car? How much? $39 for the entire day, unlimited miles. Now I am not a math genius but I determined that I was saving my company considerable denero by renting that car. At least $100, plus I provided 3 people rides back to O'hare.

The taxi industry has its own greed and abuse of the consuming public to blame for the Uber movement. You can literally save yourself 50% of the local transportation cost by using the Uber system. It has even garnered competition nowadays so it is here to stay until the next disruption, driverless autos.

It all is made possible by an App that was designed by some genius that anyone can download and become a user and or a driver. Any driver keeps 75% of the fare. The money moves via your credit card so it is basically a cashless system.

You have to ride with a stranger in a strange car. However, does that not apply to most cab drivers who, some say, are potentially part time terrorists? It also makes me think back to how I got around in Jacksonville, FL. when I was a young teenager. My mother would give me money for the bus to come home from school however, I could play pinball and get some gum in a local store with that money. So how did I get home? I walked out and stuck out my thumb along Beach Boulevard and hitch hiked my way. True I got picked up by some weird people with weird motives but I survived to make this post.

The Fifth Dimension sang about living on the American Express card. Uber is hitch hiking on the American Express card.................Visa, Master Card, Discover.